5 Zimbos flee from SA deportation centre

Source: 5 Zimbos flee from SA deportation centre – The Southern Eye

FIVE Zimbabweans were among 69 undocumented foreign nationals who broke out of South Africa’s Lindela Repatriation Centre on Sunday while awaiting deportation.

The jail breakers were part of the 1 521 inmates awaiting deportation this week back to their home countries.



Other escapees were from Tanzania (38), Malawi (14), Mozambique (2), Lesotho (2), Burundi (3), Democratic Republic of Congo (3) and only one from Nigeria.

The Lindela holding facility is administered by a private company called EnvironMongz and indications are that the government is now reviewing its contract following the prison break.

South Africa’s Home Affairs spokesperson, Siya Qoza confirmed the jailbreak.



“The Department of Home Affairs wishes to confirm an adverse incident whereby 69 undocumented foreign nationals who were awaiting deportation escaped from the Lindela Repatriation Centre in Krugersdorp,” Qoza’s statement read.

“The incident took place around 11:50 on Sunday, 17 March 2024. Lindela is managed by facilities management company, EnvironMongz, which also provides security services on behalf of the Department.”

Qoza said investigations revealed that there was an altercation between the inmates and EnvironMongz management and its security team. It was during this altercation that 69 undocumented foreign nationals managed to slip away.


“The Department is unhappy about the circumstances and the manner under which this escape happened because we believe enough could have been done by the management company and its security to prevent this incident. Hence, the contract is being scrutinised to decide on the best course of action,” the statement further read.



“As an immediate intervention, the Department has taken over the access control and other security functions at the facility by putting a different security company at the gate while the matter is still being investigated.

“Despite the event that took place over the weekend, the Department is still proceeding with this scheduled plan to deport to countries of origin. The scheduled deportations are to Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Eswatini and Zimbabwe,” the statement further read.

As part of this scheduled plan, 622 deportees were repatriated to their countries.

Last week SA deported 1 050 individuals to Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

Prior to the latest escape, EnviroMongz had informed the Department of Home Affairs about previous attempts to escape by inmates.

“One of the deportees succumbed to injuries that allegedly happened during the second attempted escape. This incident is now subject of police investigation in addition to how the escape of 17 March 2024 occurred.

“As part of the probe, police have arrested two security officers and they are in custody. Meanwhile the Department is working with other law enforcement agencies to track down the escapees. As a result, one escapee has already been re-arrested,” the statement added.