Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni
Premium Journalist
2 minute read
15 Sep 2017
5:20 am

The businesswoman, her Serbian ‘mafia’ lover and home affairs’ blind eye

Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni

A 'marriage of convenience' came to light after an SA woman tried to evict her female lover from their home.

Image courtesy

A prominent South African businesswoman’s attempt to evict her former lover, a Serbian immigrant, from her Joburg premises uncovered allegations of corruption at the department of home affairs when it emerged that police were investigating the Serb for living in the country under false pretences.

The department said it was investigating its employees in the immigration department in Pretoria to determine whether immigration officials assisted or turned a blind eye when a Serbian woman, Lidija Lazarevic, who has told people she has links to the Serbian mafia in South Africa, allegedly entered into a marriage of convenience with George Betsakos, a Zimbabwean-born man who was naturalised in the country in 1989.

In an affidavit seen by The Citizen, Betsakos claims he married Lazarevic in 2002 “under duress and against my will” in order for her to remain in the country.

She had initially arrived in SA and registered as an asylum seeker with a Yugoslavian passport in 2001. The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was the state in southeastern Europe that existed in the aftermath of World War II until its dissolution in 1992. The passport was issued in 1999.

Lazarevic obtained permanent residence in 2004 and had a South African ID but according to an affidavit by her former lover, whose name is known to The Citizen, she had not been living with her husband at the time.

Many Serbs fled the country in the 1990s as allegations of their government and armed forces’ atrocities against Bosnian Muslims began to emerge.

War crimes charges were brought against a number of Serbian leaders. A number of Serbs who came into the country in the 1990s had links with the former National Party.

Lazarevic’s marriage was dissolved in 2008 but she had already romantically been involved with the SA woman since 2004 and moved in with her in 2005.

Lazarevic and her lover ended their relationship last year but, according to the SA woman, the Serb refused to leave her apartment and threatened to use her ties to the Serbian mafia if she tried to evict her.

She continued to live there until three months ago, when Lazarevic allegedly fled her lover’s luxury apartment with all of its contents. A case of theft has been opened against her. –