220 Zimbabweans deported to decongest SA holding centers




A Zimbabwean at the Lindela Repatriation Center in South Africa, in 2004.GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/Getty Images

A total of 220 Zimbabweans were today deported from South Africa via Beitbridge border post as the neighbouring country moves to decongest migrants holding centres and minimise the rate of new Covid-19 infections.

Most of those deportees had violated immigration laws (undocumented and overstaying), while others had finished serving varied jail terms in prisons.

So far this is the largest contingent of deportees to arrive via Beitbridge since the beginning of the year.

Zimbabwe’s Consul-General in Johannesburg, Mrs Melody Chaurura said the hosts have not been able to deport people in the last two weeks and the current group had been detained at Lindela Holding Centre in Gauteng province.

She said on average less than 100 people were being sent home from South Africa weekly.

“This is the largest group so far. It’s part of the routine weekly deportations. The high number is due to the fact that no deportations were carried out two weeks prior,” said Mrs Chaurura.

Upon arrival at Beitbridge, the deportees were screened by the border and health authorities and also tested for covid19.

Those that will test positive for the condition will be put in isolation, while those testing negative will be sent to their respective homes for quarantine.

More than 18 000 Zimbabweans, among them, deportees from Eswatini, Lesotho and South Africa have passed through the Beitbridge Centre between March 2020 and June 2021.