AfriForum voices concern over alleged treatment of illegal immigrants

LEPHALALE — In a media release, AfriForum stated that it came to their attention that the South African Police Service (SAPS) allegedly simply dropped off illegal immigrants, who were supposed to be deported, in the middle of nowhere to find their way to their home country by themselves.

In the light hereof, AfriForum addressed a letter voicing its concern over the matter to the SAPS and the Department of Home Affairs. The alleged incident that is referred to took place on Monday 4 February 2019, when community members spotted 11 Malawian immigrants in the Afguns area. These community members contacted the SAPS, after which the SAPS took the illegal immigrants to the police station. Two other incidents also allegedly took place in the Ant’s Hill area, where illegal immigrants were spotted by members of the community and then taken to the police station.

According to Aldo Venter, Chairperson for AfriForum’s Ellisras branch, the SAPS just dropped the immigrants off at the side of the road where they were then told to go to Johannesburg. “They have no food or money. I bought them food and gave them something to drink, after which the Bulgeriver SAPS took them to the police station. Apparently, they slept under a bridge for some length of time,” says Venter.

According to Jaco Grobbelaar, AfriForum’s District Coordinator for Waterberg, it is irresponsible of the SAPS to just drop illegal immigrants off in rural areas without considering the consequences it may hold for the community. “The possible safety implications for the local community are huge. These immigrants have nowhere to go and no food. Furthermore, it appears that the police also have no record of these immigrants. We understand that it is the responsibility of the Department of Home Affairs to deport these immigrants, but at the same time the police can’t act this irresponsibly by leaving these people to their own devices in an unfamiliar country,” says Grobbelaar.

In his letter Grobbelaar urges the SAPS and the Department of Home Affairs to see illegal immigrants off to their country of origin in a responsible manner, without posing a threat for the safety of the local community.

“Both departments are responsible for the handling of illegal immigrants and we will hold them accountable for any incidents that may arise from their negligence,” Grobbelaar concludes.

AfriForum requests that farmers in the different areas around Lephalale be on the lookout for illegal immigrants being dropped off by the SAPS, and to immediately report such incidents.

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