SA deports 6 235 Basotho during the festive season
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.