Over 7 000 Zimbabweans Deported From South Africa

The report dubbed ‘perils and pitfalls’ indicates that “between October and December 2011 the Beitbridge border handled 7 755 deportees, while an additional 7 177 Zimbabweans were deported between January and March 2012”.

The two organisations called on the South African government to halt the militarisation of immigration raids at a meeting on Tuesday.

Commenting on the legislative regime governing immigration, Bram Henekom, from Passop warned that “the policies being promoted by the government will ultimately see Africans fighting fellow Africans like what was experienced in 2008”.

The recommendations come a few months after the South African government instituted a bill that will see illegal immigrants being imprisoned for up to four years.

Professor Brian Raftopolous, who also addressed the meeting lamented that “people are being deported without proper procedures” asking for the “rule of law to prevail”.

South Africa’s uniformed forces have in the past been accused of abusing illegal immigrants at the port of entries and seeking bribes as to allow them entry into the country.

The two leading civic groups also added that “better training on immigration law for South African Police Service and the South Africa National Defense Forces (SANDF) from immigration control is necessary in order to demilitarise immigration raids”.

The joint SPT, Passop report states that it is costly to the Pretoria administration to continue deporting foreigners considering that “between 2009 and 2010, immigration control bill was as high as 1.8 billion rands”.

Some of the reports within the Department of Home Affairs indicate that the government is hastily planning to move all refugee reception offices near the border.

Raftopolous said there was need for international consensus on resolving Harare political quagmires.

“The political mediation should lead to normalisation of situation in Zimbabwe as deportation is not the solution”, added Raftopolous.