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Desperate Lesotho citizens jump borders to get home

Source: The South African, 10/05/2020

All of South Africa’s ports of entry remain closed to travellers
with only goods being traded and medical emergencies granting
permission to enter or exit the country.
Desperate Lesotho citizens jump border
Lesotho is entirely encompassed by South Africa, meaning the
mountain kingdom has been sealed off from the outside world.
Widespread testing has not been possible inside the country but
they did institute a lockdown which remains in effect.
Lesotho citizens working in South Africa have been left stranded
in the country, but the opening of the interprovincial blockade
saw a rush of border jumpers attempting dangerous border jump to
return to their homes and families.
Many of the border jumpers reportedly made their way to the
Eastern Cape from the winelands and crossed into Lesotho by
ferrying over the Tele River into Lesotho border town Quthing.
Still, others are entering through the Free State town of Wepener,
where the border is not reinforced by significant natural
Last week South Africa’s Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi
announced a mass repatriation of citizens of Lesotho, Zimbabwe and
other neighbouring states. Some of that large group were in South
Africa illegally and were being held at the Lindela Repatriation
Centre near Krugersdorp.
There were 95 Lesotho citizens in the group of more than 700
repatriated from Lindela with the majority headed to Zimbabwe.
The Lesotho border jumpers say they are desperate to return home
as they can no longer support themselves in South Africa.
Residents of Lesotho who are in South Africa legally, may remain
in South Africa without applying for additional paperwork until at
least 15 June 2020 according to a Home Affairs announcement made
in April.
Citizens of neighbouring states may not simply leave SA
“During the lockdown, except for cases relating to expatriation
initiated by another state, all foreign nationals who are
currently in South Africa may not depart,” the department of home
affairs notified in April.
The department of home affairs have barred foreign nationals who
are in South Africa from leaving the country outside of official
repatriation and deportation efforts.
After receiving 95 citizens repatriated from South Africa this
week, it is unclear if the government of Lesotho has any intention
of engaging in further efforts to bring any of its people in South
Africa and neighbouring states back to their home.


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