Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
The number of people seeking assistance from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) after deportation by road from South Africa dropped by 28 percent at the end of last year.
The organisation has a reception and support centre in Beitbridge where they provide post-return humanitarian assistance to returned migrants.
They also help with food and temporary shelter for returned unaccompanied minors.
IOM programme manager Mr Sam Grundy said between January and December last year they offered assistance to 18 368 irregular migrants who had been deported from South Africa.
He said in 2013 they assisted 27 509.
These were deported for overstaying, lack of legal travel documents while others have finished serving jail terms for various offences committed in that country.
“The majority of the migrants assisted are 25 years and older,” said Mr Grundy.
The actual figures of illegal immigrants deported from South Africa could not be established from the Department of Immigration but sources at the border post said 25 000 people were repatriated to Zimbabwe by road last year.
The Herald is reliably informed that 385 483 returned migrants from South Africa were assisted at the IOM reception centre in Beitbridge between 2006 and 2013 while 179 570 returned migrants from Botswana were assisted at the Plumtree Reception and Support Centre between 2008 and 2013.
The two centres have a holding capacity of 1 000 people and overnight accommodation facilities for at least 600 people.
Deportations from Botswana and South Africa have been dropping due to improved access of travelling documents and growing economy in the country.
It is understood that IOM has managed to assist up to 60 percent of people being repatriated from the two countries.