Free at last
All Deogratias Hakizimana wanted to do after his release from Lindela repatriation centre was to go and look for his wife and four children.
The 43-year-old Burundian was one of 37 men released on Friday by the Department of Home Affairs at the instruction of the Pretoria high court.
They were among 208 men who were arrested after they refused to register and relinquish their asylum status at the Glenanda shelter on Rifle Range Road, south of Johannesburg, earlier this year.
"I am happy to leave this place, but I am worried about my family.
"I do not know whether they are still in Johannesburg or have been sent home. I am going to find them, whatever it takes," said Hakizimana.
He lived with his family in Troyeville before the outbreak of the xenophobic attacks in May.
Patric Kalala, 25, from the DRC, said he had been informed that his young wife had been sent back home. "I do not know what to do now. I cannot go back to a room I rented in Hillbrow because the landlord will have rented it out to someone else. I am happy that she went back home to get away from this stressful situation."
Kalala said he was happy to leave Lindela. "It felt like I was in prison because our movements were restricted."
Gina Strydom, spokesman for Lawyers for Human Rights, said the group would be accommodated in Bertrams. "They will stay there for a week and thereafter they will have to decide where they want to go. Each will be given R700 as a once-off accommodation grant."