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SA deports 150 Basotho

by Lesotho Times

MASERU — Over 150 illegal immigrants from Lesotho were deported from South Africa on Sunday.
The Maseru District Administration (DA)’s office said this is the largest group of deportees they have received from South Africa in recent years.
Most of those deported were arrested in Cape Town where they were working as labourers at 2010 football World Cup construction sites.
Transported in two guarded buses, the deportees were dropped at the Maseru border where they were received by officials from the District Administration (DA) office.
Some however disappeared before they could cross into Lesotho while others complained that the South African police who had arrested and transported them to Lesotho had stolen their money.
The assistant administration officer at the DA‘s office, Moeketse Masoleng, confirmed the deportation.
He said most of those deported had sneaked into South Africa through illegal entry points.
“They were over 150. Almost every month people are deported but towards Christmas the number of deportees increases. 
“In most cases those people work in South Africa without work permits so they are usually deported back to their countries,” Masoleng said.
“They normally go to South Africa because there are no jobs in Lesotho but they are not following the right procedures.
“Their employers know that they are supposed to have work permits when they are coming from foreign countries. 
“We suspect that when they are supposed to be paid their employers call the police to arrest them so that they avoid paying them.
“We have come to suspect this because most of these people are arrested and deported during this time of the month when their wages are normally due,” Masoleng alleged, adding that most of the deportees were men. 
Most of the deportees are domestic and construction workers who would have lost everything they earned and owned during their movement from South Africa.
“When they come back they normally have nothing. We provide food and transport to take them back to their home places.”
Masoleng alleged that the group was violent because they were complaining that they had not been paid. 
“They said after they were arrested the police took their money and cellphones but when they were transported back they were only given their cellphones only.”
“Some just disappeared at the border gate; we suspect that they might have gone back.”
Masoleng said among those deported was a woman who was carrying a one-month-old baby who said when she was arrested her husband was not there.
“There is a possibility that she might go back because her husband is still in South Africa.”
Most of the deportees come from Mafeteng, Quthing, Mohale’s Hoek and Qacha’s Nek, according to Masoleng.

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