Lindela Repatriation Centre Immigrants

Photo: MogaleJunction / Twitter

Lindela Repatriation Centre: Nearly 700 immigrants deported on Thursday

Hundreds of illegal immigrants are being sent home on Thursday, after a worker’s revolt at the Lindela Repatriation Centre help some detainees escape.

Lindela Repatriation Centre Immigrants

Photo: MogaleJunction / Twitter

Almost 700 foreign nationals are facing deportation on Thursday, following scenes of abject chaos at the Lindela Repatriation Centre. Enraged by the escape of 37 immigrants earlier this week, Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has put his foot down.

Lindela Repatriation Centre – where are the immigrants going?

These are the numbers:

  • There are 94 Basotho nationals being sent back to Lesotho.
  • Around 574 Zimbabwean immigrants are also being deported from the Lindela Repatriation Centre.
  • As of 9:00 on Thursday, the Lesotho cohort has already been processed. The Zimbabwe natives go later today.
  • In total, 668 ‘illegals’ will be kicked out of South Africa on Thursday.

Motsoaledi fumes at guards who ‘helped illegals escape’

The Home Affairs minister said that some of the guards, who were employed by a private security company, left their stations and the centre unattended and CCTV camera footage showed the detainees climbing over walls.

Motsoaledi was animated when interviewed by the media, and slammed protesting workers at the Lindela Repatriation Centre – who were allegedly upset that they don’t have the correct PPE gear – for allowing this incident to happen.

I think two events coincided that led to the escape of detainees, the first event is that the Basotho nationals at the centre started some sort of a riot wanting to be repatriated immediately. The security guards left the place at 14:00 and tipped the rioting nationals to do what they wanted to do.

“Indeed, the commotion at 17:00 started with people climbing through walls. I say the escape was planned because I saw everything on the CCTV footage, they saw them escape but the officials couldn’t do anything to stop them as there were no security guards.”

Aaron Motsoaledi

The Lindela Repatriation Centre and the Bosasa connection

A billion-rand contract had previously allowed corruption kingpins Bosasa to control the Lindela Repatriation Facility – for the purposes of detaining illegal immigrants with the intention of re-homing them. Once the initial R1 billion deal had run its course, Home Affairs confirmed that a five-year renewal deal was put in place.

This guaranteed Bosasa another R500 million to continue running Lindela, which is based near Krugersdorp in Gauteng. The controversial Repatriation Centre even found itself as part of an auction lot last year, with nine large buildings and a soccer field amongst its facilities. However, the infamous location remains under the control of the ANC.