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South Africa has deported over 10 000 Zimbabweans since last year, spending R33 million every month on extraditing the illegal immigrants. An estimated two million Zimbabweans are living in South Africa. Mr Mukonoweshuro said the majority of the deportees are over-stayers.

“Those are statistics from last year. Those are over- stayers, that’s what I understand. They are over-stayers from Lindela.  This is not a one-time deportation, it’s an annual figure,” said Mr Mukonoweshuro.

About 10 433 Zimbabweans have been deported since last year together with nationals from other neighbouring countries such as Mozambique, Lesotho and Malawi.

South Africa’s department of Home Affairs said the deportations were in line with the Immigration Act which they were implementing in a non-discriminatory manner. Unconfirmed reports say South Africa has tightened its laws with illegal immigrants appearing in court before deportation.

This measure, according to the reports, was put in place to control the number of illegal immigrants who sneaked back into the country soon after deportation.

At least 200 000 Zimbabweans in South Africa face deportation at the expiry of their special dispensation permits on December 31 this year.

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