Illegal Zimbabwean ex-cons and migrants in their hundreds who have finished serving their jail time are to be deported from South Africa on Wednesday. This follows the forced repatriation of 140 ex-prisoners this weekend.
Chronicle newspaper reported that 950 Zimbabwean migrants who had broken South African immigration regulations had been identified at Lindela Holding Centre in Johannesburg.
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Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau said the South African government is expected to deport 140 Zimbabweans who have finished serving their various jail terms for breaking the immigration laws of the country.
The Zimbawean ex-cons to be repatriated will arrive in their country in two different batches of 70 each by road through Beitbridge border under police escort.
Zimbabwe’s Consul General to South Africa, Batiraishe Mukonoweshuro, said:
“We’ve agreed to separate the ex-convicts from those immigrants on self-deportation to avoid unnecessary situations. We’ve since notified all the stakeholders at Beitbridge border post so that they work on all necessary logistics to receive them. All the repatriation documents have been processed.”
The offences of the Zimbabwean ex-cons range from housebreaking to murder, according to the Chronicle.
Zimbabweans seeking jobs and better life away from home have made South Africa a destination of choice for decades, but some of the migrants have not always crossed the border legally into the country. This has been a problem to the law enforcement agencies over the years.
In 2013, there were claims by Fact-checking organisation @AfricaCheck that between two and three million Zimbabweans were living in South Africa, saying that “the numbers cannot be substantiated”.
Zimbabwean migrants in South Africa were constantly repatriated last year by South African authorities. This was done in large groups of several hundreds at a time.
In June last year, Herald newspaper reported that a group of 796 Zimbabwean male deportees had arrived at the Beitbridge border post in just a day.