A Gauteng court has ruled that over 400 illegal immigrants who were nabbed during the recent raids in Johannesburg Central Business District must be deported to their home countries.
South Africa media has reported that about 459 illegal migrant workers will be sent to Lindela Repatriation Centre where they will stay for a month before the deportation starts.
Dozens of people picketed on Monday morning outside the Johannesburg Magistrates’ Court in support of immigrants arrested during police raids in the city centre last week.
Picketers held placards that read: “Equality before the law”, “There is no illegal human” and “We don’t hijack, we are hijacked”. They included people from the African Diaspora Forum, African Civil Revolutionary Movement and members of immigrant communities.
The raids conducted by SAPS and the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department targeted shops suspected of selling counterfeit goods. Hundreds of boxes of clothes, shoes and bags were confiscated.
This came after police officers were forced to retreat when they clashed with shop owners and street vendors during an attempted raid in the same area on 1 August.
Last week the chairman of the South African parliamentary portfolio committee on home affairs Bongani Bongo on Thursday welcomed the arrest of illegal immigrants during a multi-organisation raid in inner Johannesburg’s central business district (CBD).
“It must remain clear that while legal and developmental immigration is encouraged and can be beneficial to the growth prospects of the country, we remain steadfast that illegal immigration must be discouraged at all times,” Bongo was quoted by the media.
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