This statement follows an oversight inspection by Democratic Alliance (DA) Team One South Africa Spokesperson on Immigration, Jacques Julius, and the DA Gauteng Provincial Leader, John Moodey, to the Lindela Repatriation Centre, Johannesburg.
Today the DA conducted an oversight inspection of the Lindela Repatriation Centre. The purpose of this oversight was to inspect and highlight the conditions at the centre in light of the massive amounts of government funds that have been pocketed by Bosasa and the alleged human rights violation that has been reported.
We found that there were notable improvements at Lindela particularly in the medical facility since our last oversight visit. We did however find that the facility is underutilised as only eight hundred illegal immigrants are currently being detained at the facility which has a capacity of accommodating five thousand people.
Tax payers have had to fork out R1.5 billion for two contracts awarded over 15 years Bosasa and now the facility is used below its full capacity.
While Lindela repatriation center remains underutilised, it emerged in Parliament yesterday that the South African Police Service (SAPS) is spending resources desperately needed for the protection of the public to accommodate and detain illegal immigrants in jails.
For years public funds have been wasted on Bosasa by the failing ANC, yet now the police are left carrying the burden of the government’s inefficiencies, despite not being mandated or resourced to do so.
It is clear that the monies paid to Bosasa is wasted and the onus is now on Minister Siyabonga Cwele to speak up and cancel all Bosasa contracts and ensure that every cent is paid back. Moreover, the Minister’s continued silence has caused heightened insecurity for the workers at the facility who are concerned about their jobs in light of the liquidation of Bosasa.
Should the Minister fail to act, he would have failed in his duty to protect detained foreign nationals, especially those in police custody. Lindela was built with the intentions of providing decent accommodation to detain foreign nationals, with quality healthcare facilities and dignified amenities – jail cells cannot provide these amenities.
The South African Police Service cannot continue cater to the shortfall in detention facilities. Police stations are simply not equipped to house immigration detainees because that is not their function or their mandate.
The ANC government must reaffirm a commitment to our constitutional values of dignity in the treatment of foreign nationals.