The South African government has deported over 400 Malawian nationals who were staying in the country illegally with the latest 120 people arriving yesterday morning.
The increased number of deportees has been attributed to the South African government’s sweep in the major cities of the country ahead of the festive season. Since the start of this month, plane loads of deportees numbering between 80 and 120 per trip have been arriving at Kamuzu International Airport.
Two of the deportees who have stayed at the Lindela Detention Centre for a month bemoaned the bad conditions in the overcrowded camp but vowed to find means of going back.
Darlington Silwamba who hails from Mzimba had just touched down at the airport and was desperately searching for contacts of relatives who could help him get back home when he spoke to The Daily Times.
In desperation, the deportees resort to selling cellphones, shoes and other personal items to enable them travel back home.
“My papers expired last year but I was still working. I was picked up at a roadblock as I was making deliveries with my boss and I had nothing on me. Lindela is a terrible place, some are beaten while others stay there seriously sick,” he said.
His friend who opted for anonymity said the experience at Lindela was a terrible one but he would go back because he had left his household goods at a rented house.
The airport police spokesperson Peter Botha confirmed the increase in the arrival of deportees with 120 each day reported since Monday.
Botha said the airline which the South African government charters to ferry the deportees applies for clearance including numbers of passengers and crew.
Botha could not however remember the expected number of deportees this week.
The Department of Immigration has previously washed its hands off the deportation of Malawians from foreign countries saying it has no powers to prevent people from travelling.
However, the porous system at Department of Immigration allows for Malawians to apply for new passports in different names enabling them to travel to countries like South Africa multiple times after deportation.