SA de­ports 6 235 Ba­sotho dur­ing the fes­tive sea­son

Lesotho Times - - News - Lim­pho Sello

SOUTH Africa de­ported 6 235 Ba­sotho through six of Le­sotho’s bor­der posts dur­ing the fes­tive sea­son be­cause they lacked valid travel doc­u­men­ta­tion and for over­stay­ing.

Min­istry of Home Af­fairs Act­ing Im­mi­gra­tion Direc­tor, Mpheletso Molefi, said the de­por­tees ar­rived through six of Le­sotho’s bor­der posts namely; Ma­put­soe Bor­der Gate, Qacha’s Nek Bor­der Post, Tele Bor­der Gate, Vanrooyen’s Gate, Caledon Bor­der Gate as well as Maseru Bridge.

“The de­por­tees were dropped at th­ese bor­der posts by the SA gov­ern­ment from 27 Novem­ber to 5 Jan­uary 2015 since they had been stay­ing in South Africa il­le­gally ei­ther be­cause of lack of doc­u­men­ta­tion or over­stay­ing,” Ms Molefi said.

She added that apart from be­ing de­ported, some Ba­sotho who over­stayed in South Africa were also fined. Maseru Dis­trict Im­mi­gra­tion Manager, Tšepiso Masasane, said her depart­ment still en­coun­ters chal­lenges with Ba­sotho who try to cir­cum­vent South Africa’s im­mi­gra­tion laws which pun­ish those who over­stay or en­ter that coun­try il­le­gally.

She said some tear off pass­port pages with stamps ban­ning them from en­ter­ing South Africa for a cer­tain pe­riod of time or use their sib­lings’ pass­ports while oth­ers just opt to cross the bor­der with the help of run­ners dur­ing the night.

Ms Masasane said some of the de­por­tees hid their pass­ports and did not pro­duce them when they crossed into South Africa and then used them there as iden­tity doc­u­ments. This would be un­der the guise of avoid­ing ru­in­ing their pass­ports yet they would be plan­ning to stay longer than 30 days.

“What we do as the Le­sotho Home Af­fairs Im­mi­gra­tion Depart­ment when we spot such cases is to stop them from cross­ing into SA and then con­fis­cate their pass­ports and sub- mit them to the pass­port of­fices where they can then deal with the is­sue,” Ms Masasane said.

“We stop them from cross­ing over as a way of pro­tect­ing them and to help them avoid the bit­ter con­se­quences of be­ing de­ported or be- ing fined by the South African im­mi­gra­tion depart­ment.

“How­ever, they ig­nore what we tell them and cross over any­way and that is why Ba­sotho are still be­ing de­ported and fined in large num­bers.

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