South Africa on Thursday deported 301 Malawians who were living in that country illegally and arrived home amid emotional scenes while hundreds more such immigrants being held at removal centre are expected to arrive in few days.
Over 1,000 were being held at South Africa’s detention immigration centres waiting for removals and the first batch of 301 Malawians arrived through Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe in two chartered planes.
Malawi’s Chief Immigration Officer Hudson Mankhwala confirmed the arrival of the deportees.
Mankhwala said that all the deportees “either did not have valid work permits or valid travel documents.”
The group filed through the immigration desks as a mere formality since most of them did not have luggage or valid travel documents for inspection.
Immigration officials were on hand to facilitate their entry into the country and enquire why and how they were deported, according to Mankhwala.
And a South African Home Affairs officials accompanying the deportees told Nyasa Times in Lilongwe that they will be deporting Malawians every week to clear the illegal immigrants.
He said South Africa is only deporting “undocumented immigrants”.
The official said Malawians were welcome in South Africa if they get the right of abode but the crackdown was targeted at illegal lags.
Malawi’s Immigration Official in Lilongwe, Richard Chadwala said most of the repatriated people came back “destitute”.
“We received the deportees and our officials vetted them that they were indeed Malawian nationals.
“Some only came back with a mobile phone as they were rounded in the streets,” he said.
Chadwala said according to what they have been informed by their South African counterparts, they expecting more deportations during the course of the month.
The Malawi government continue to warn people against irregular migration, advising people to acquire legal travel documents rather than resort to illegally crossing borders or over staying the Visa.
South Africa, Africa’s economic powerhouse, used to use a lot of immigrant labour from poor southern African states.
Since 1994 South Africa has treated outsiders with xenophobia, with immigrant workers from the region bearing the brunt of it.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :