Immigration disputes SA deportation figures

Staff Reporter

Zimbabwe immigration authorities have rebuffed reports by some private media that 89 000 Zimbabweans were deported from South Africa this year, saying this was an exaggeration by some hostile media outlets who wanted to draw the attention of the international community to the purported Zimbabwe’s humanitarian crisis.

A source within the Department of Immigration who spoke to this publication on condition of anonymity said at no time this year or last year have 89 000 Zimbabweans been deported from South Africa as was reported by South Africa’s eNCA, Pindula and other media outlets.

“The figure of 89 000 Zimbabweans deported from South Africa this year was exaggerated by people who have some sinister agenda. Even if we want to combine the number of deportees since 2020, the figure will still not reach 89 000. The facts are that this year, only 134 Zimbabwean nationals have thus far been deported from South Africa, with 2 141 people being denied entry into that country. The figures are still a far cry from the 89 000 claimed by some media outlets,” said the source.

The same source clarified that last year, a total of 7 219 Zimbabweans were deported from South Africa. Those deported had violated South Africa’s immigration laws and some had committed some criminal offences. The source further said that during the same year, 4 295 Zimbabweans were denied entry into South Africa for either attempted entry by invasion or not having proper travelling documents.

The source added that in 2020, a total of 9 617 Zimbabweans were deported from South Africa, while 5 863 were denied entry into that country.

According to the source, claims that people who were deported were ill-treated was wrong as all deportations were properly done with the Government of South Africa working closely with the Zimbabwean Government.

“It’s wrong to say that those deported were treated roughly. The truth is that the deportees were handled and processed by the relevant Government Departments. Another thing is that, the number of deportees and those denied entry into South Africa since 2020 is 29 269 not 89 000,” said the source.

On 10 January this year, eNCA and other hostile media outlets falsely claimed that over 89 000 illegal immigrants from Zimbabwe had been arrested and deported after they desperately tried to enter South Africa in the hope to get a better life.

 According to analysts, the fake report was meant to create an impression that there is a humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe owing to economic challenges. This narrative by detractors is meant to portray the Second Republic as having failed to run the economy forcing its citizens to seek greener pastures, which is further from the truth as the country’s economic fortunes have never looked brighter than presently.