Struggle to contain Zimbabwe migrants

Selby Makgotho

Selby Makgotho

Police near the Zimbabwe border in Limpopo are increasingly unable to cope with the large number of illegal immigrants from Zimbabwe.

Sowetan has learnt that the police holding cells in Musina, which is 12km from the Beit Bridge border post, are so inadequate that the majority of arrested illegals have to sleep under police guard under a big tree next to the police station or under carports at the station.

Superintendent Ronel Otto yesterday said that the problem had been identified some time ago.

She said the police arrested between 200 and 300 immigrants a day and had to take them to Musina police station before they were deported to Zimbabwe.

"The main thing is that the Zimbabwean side of the border closes at 4pm. All the people arrested after that time have to stay overnight and be deported back, with the help of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) first thing in the morning.

"This means we have to accommodate them overnight at the Musina police holding cells," Otto said.

The police had negotiated with the SANDF to use their old buildings currently being renovated to accommodate the illegals.