Foreigners held at police station

2012-08-07 00:00

TWENTY foreign nationals from around Pietermaritzburg have been kept in police holding cells at Mountain Rise police station for two weeks, awaiting deportation.

KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said the foreign nationals — allegedly from Malawi — were arrested by the Department of Home Affairs and had been legally detained at the station awaiting deportation.

Naicker said that in terms of the Immigration Act, they may be detained for no longer than 30 days pending deportation.

“From past experiences, foreigners detained at the Mountain Rise police stations are deported within a period of two weeks. The immigration office is in the process of finalising this particular case,” he said.

An employer of one of the foreigners, speaking anonymously for fear of victimisation, told The witness he had taken the detainees some food and found they weren’t being fed properly.

He said the 20 detainees — all men — were being given food rations for 10 people, and were not kept in the loop about their fate.

“Apparently they have no papers and they will be deported. If the police have to deport them, they must do so and not hold them,” he said.

However, Naicker said the detainees were being treated with “respect and dignity and afforded the same treatment and food as any other detainees”.

“All detainees are fed with a menu strictly complying with the police standing orders,” Naicker said.

He said there have been no reports or complaints that prisoners were not being fed well or given less food.

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