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Lesotho citizens stuck in SA resort to dangerous border crossings to get home

Citizens who were stranded in South Africa have started going home, saying they were without jobs, have no food or medicine.

Lesotho citizens entering the country from South Africa at unauthorised borders undetected for COVID-19. Picture: Nthakoana Ngatane/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Hundreds of Lesotho citizens are making dangerous border crossings daily between that country and South Africa to go home.

All South African borders remain in line with level 4 COVID-19 regulations except for trade and medical travel and all land borders of the landlocked kingdom go into South Africa.

Lesotho has not started local testing but a lockdown that was imposed in April has been partially lifted to allow all trade and government services for limited hours.

Citizens who were stranded in South Africa have started going home, saying they were without jobs, have no food or medicine.

They walk through rivers or use inflatable mattresses.

Prime Minister Tom Thabane has beefed up army deployments on the borders with South Africa - mainly to screen people for COVID-19.

Many of them come from the Western Cape farms, the epicentre of the outbreak in South Africa, they transit the Eastern Cape to cross the Tele River into Quthing, Lesotho.

While others are transported in trucks to the Wepener border in the Free State, the Department of Home Affairs deported 95 undocumented Basotho from Lindela repatriation centre this week after 37 inmates escaped during a riot.