Nov. 24, 2022


2 min read

41 Basotho jailed for illegal stay in SA

41 Basotho jailed for illegal stay in SA

Illegal miners from Lesotho arrested at the Gold-fields Mine, Welkom in December 2020

Story highlights

    The accused in custody because they could not afford to pay R1 500 fine
    Details of how the accused were arrested still remain sketchy

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THE 41 Lesotho nationals who appeared in the Ladybrand Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday this week on charges of illegal entry and unlawfully staying and working in South Africa were remanded in custody.

This, after the accused, could not pay an R1 500 fine that the court demanded from each.

Details of how and where precisely the accused were arrested in the neighbouring country still remain sketchy.

It is, however, believed that most of them were working as undocumented domestic workers and farm labourers in homes and farms around the small Eastern Free State farming town of Ladybrand.

The accused are expected back in court soon for the case to be finalised.

Meanwhile, other undocumented Lesotho citizens were on Monday this week deported back into the country from Newcastle in Kwazulu-Natal after they were kicked out of their workplaces by their respective employers.

The deportees were collected from Newcastle by the government of Lesotho in seven buses.

According to the Minister of Information, Communications, Science, Technology and Innovation, Nthati Moorosi, others who still remain behind will be fetched soon.

 The government, she said sent the vehicles to SA to collect the stranded Lesotho citizens who could not afford transport fares back home after losing their jobs.

The minister confirmed that they were sacked because they were not documented.  

Others, she said were caught and imprisoned by the SAPS for staying in the neighbouring country unlawfully.

“Lesotho Government is working towards freeing Basotho who are imprisoned in South Africa,” she said, adding that some of them are not in good health condition, due to hunger.

In May, 60 Lesotho citizens were arrested by the SAPS for illegal mining in a mining town in the North West province.

The 60 were part of a wider group of 77 foreigners apprehended in what the police described as a clamp-down on illegal mining” in South Africa.

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In a statement, SAPS said the 77, including 13 Mozambicans and four Zimbabweans, were arrested between April 14 and 18, 2022, at the Orkney Mine.

Media reports from South Africa show that the foreign miners were arrested after they had appealed to the mine authorities to salvage them out of a mine shaft they were trapped in.

Reports further show that when they finally resurfaced from the shaft, they came some decomposing bodies of their colleagues.

“As part of clamping down on illegal mining, a multi-disciplinary team, rescued, and ultimately apprehended 77 illegal miners between April 14 and 18, 2022,” the SAPS said in the statement.

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