Chairperson of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs Bongani Bongo says government is in the process of buying the Lindela Repatriation Centre, near Krugersdorp in Gauteng, so that the Home Affairs can take full control of it.

Bongo’s statement follows the escape of 37 foreign nationals, waiting to be deported to their countries, from the centre last week. He led the committee’s delegation on a site visit at the facility on Monday morning.

Committee members also interacted with representatives of the employees who have raised concerns over poor management at the centre.

Bongo has warned that the contracts of under-performing service providers at the centre will be cancelled.

“You’ll note that the department is not the service provider. So, the providers are just with the service providers. What we’ll be monitoring to do is to cancel certain service providers that are not doing their work to the satisfaction of government and to cede other contracts where necessary. Then the situation will get back to normal. Those people who were found to have caused the situation that happened here last week will be taken to task, and some of these companies are going to be cancelled, because we need to get the government to do its work properly.”

The video below SABC reports that 37 people escaped from Lindela Repatriation Centre:

The Black Power Civil Rights Movement says it will approach the CCMA to challenge the suspension of employees at the Lindela Repatriation Centre near Krugersdorp in Gauteng.

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has labelled the escape of 37 foreign nationals an inside job which he alleges to have been facilitated by the security guards employed at the facility.

The movement says it has also raised its concerns with Bongo who led a delegation of MPs on a site visit to the facility this morning.

The movement’s President General Thekiso, says, “Tomorrow, we will be sending the documents through to the CCMA. We have employed the services of the labour experts, who are busy completing the documents to refer the matter to the CCMA. So far, we have about 25. We have about 25 employees who are suspended – 10 them actually come from the hearing. They were then dismissed. We then assisted them to do an appeal in three days that was granted in terms of the contract. We’re still awaiting the management to actually come back to us.”

‘Suitability of Lindela for human beings’

Bongo said they would also assess whether the centre was adhering to the health protocols against COVID-19.

When Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi appeared before the Committee during a virtual briefing on Thursday last week, concerns were raised about the suitability of Lindela for human beings.

But the Minister said if Lindela was not fit for human habitation this would have been picked up by human rights bodies like the SAHRC which is stationed permanently at the centre.

Meanwhile, the total number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in South Africa has surpassed the 10 000 mark, with Western Cape and the Eastern Cape accounting for 84% of the country’s 595 new COVID-19 cases.

The country has recorded eight new deaths related to the virus overnight. Four of the deaths occurred in Gauteng, three in the Western Cape and the other in the Eastern Cape.

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