The operatives of South Africa Border control have intercepted dozens of buses carrying more than 400 young children from Zimbabwe without parents to South Africa.
It was gathered that an organization representing foreign nationals living in SA says it’s likely the children were being sent for the end of year holidays to visit their parents who are working in the country.
More than 1 million Zimbabweans live in South Africa, many of them illegally, having moved to their southern neighbor over the past 15 years to escape Zimbabwe’s economic turmoil.
According to South African Border Management Agency commissioner Mike Masiapato said that, on Sunday that SA police stopped and searched 42 buses entering from Zimbabwe on Saturday night and found 443 children under the age of 8 travelling unaccompanied.
Masiapato Said: “We denied them entry and activated the Zimbabwean officials to process them back into Zimbabwe.”
The buses were allowed through on the Zimbabwean side of the Beitbridge border post, South African border officials said.
Meanwhile, Ngqabutho Mabhena, chairperson of the Africa Diaspora Forum, which represents foreign nationals living in South Africa, said his organization believed the buses were carrying Zimbabwean children coming to South Africa to visit their parents, which is a regular phenomenon near the end of the year.
Mabhena: “We always tell Zimbabwean parents living in South Africa that if they arrange for their children to come to South Africa, they must … arrange all necessary documentation.”
He added: “It is irresponsible for parents to let children travel without passports and to travel with strangers. We have addressed this with parents.”