Motsoaledi blames guards for illegal immigrants escaping Lindela facility

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said that the security company that employed the guards would have to answer for the escape and steps were now being taken to ensure the safety of guards and inmates from COVID-19.

FILE: The Lindela Repatriation Centre in Krugersdorp, West of Johannesburg. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said that security guards at the Lindela Repatriation Centre tipped off inmates that they wouldn’t be at work and that’s how they were able to escape.

Thirty-seven illegal immigrants who were awaiting deportation escaped from the repatriation centre on Sunday.

Motsoaledi blamed the guards but he said that he would deal with the security company that employed them.

The minister said that some of the guards, who were employed by a private security company, left their stations and the centre unattended and CCTV camera footage showed the detainees climbing over walls.

"I understand the escape uprising was caused by Basotho nationals who wanted to be repatriated and the guards tipped them that they won't be at work, and they told others."

He said that the security company would have to answer for the escape and steps were now being taken to ensure the safety of guards and inmates from COVID-19.

"I saw a few inmates with masks. I was there. There are those who didn’t have and I have ordered they should be given masks but they said they are not giving them because they are in a confined space and they were tested."

Motsoaledi said that the department fell victim to a fallout between the guards and their employer.