Govt to repatriate six ‘stranded’ migrants

By Nokuthaba Dlamini

The government is working on repatriating six undocumented migrants who were intercepted while attempting to leave the country through the Victoria Falls border without following proper immigration procedures.

Matabeleland North provincial social welfare officer Macnon Chirinzepi told CITE that the migrants from Namibia, DRC and Congo were being housed at Encore Budget hotel quarantine centre in Victoria Falls.

They were all deported from South Africa.

“We were holding two males from Namibia who were intercepted and brought to our quarantine centre on July 17,” he said.

“We also received two more Congolese who came from South Africa on the 23rd of July with the intention to pass through the Victoria Falls border without following proper Immigration procedures.  We then received another pair of females on the 28th of July also coming from South Africa going to DRC. All these people had no legal travel documents and we have tried to assist them in collaboration with police and immigration for them to get temporary documentation to allow them to proceed to their countries.”

He said they have discharged four of the migrants after going through Covid-19 testing and screening.

“The first pair from Namibia was discharged from the centre of July 26, while the Congolese were released from centre on Monday and are in police custody waiting to be deported to their countries. We are still holding the last pair from DRC. We discharge them after conducting tests and whenever they get their results, we immediately start the process of deporting them to their countries.”

Chirinzepi said the number of migrants received in the province is nine, after three Namibians were intercepted while enroute to South Africa sometime back.

The province’s quarantine centres Encore Budget hotel and Inyathi Training Centre did not receive returnees on Wednesday.

Encore Budget hotel is currently holding 48 returnees including two females from DRC while Inyathi Training centre has 25 returnees.

Its carrying capacity is 55 while Encore Budget hotel has a carrying capacity of 100 people.

Phezulu Lodge, a private quarantine centre is currently holding one male returnee.

The facility charges US$ 85 per night.

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