Lawyers denied access to foreign nationals

235 people were arrested for being in the country illegally during a raid in the city center on Friday.

FILE: Scores of foreign nationals queue for the bus as they prepare to leave the refugee camp in Primrose on 23 April 2015. Picture: Mia Lindeque/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) say they are being denied access to more than 200 foreign nationals arrested during a raid on the Central Methodist Church in Johannesburg this weekend.

235 people were arrested for being in the country illegally during a raid in the city center on Friday morning and lawyers for human rights says Home Affairs has denied its request to visit them as it is still processing their identities.

The organisation says it wants to probe the manner in which the foreign nationals were arrested as well as the reasons why they came to South Africa.

LHR member David Cote said, "We're also concerned that asylum seekers and refugees have been among the group and obviously they can't be detained or deported so it's important that we find what exactly their immigration status is. We don't believe that everyone was necessarily an illegal foreigner."

More than 800 people have been arrested across the country since last week in operations to net illegal immigrants and criminals.