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South African authorities deported a total of 9,171 Mozambicans in 2021, mostly due to illegal immigration and stay, a source from the National Migration Service (Senami) told AFP.
Most were sent back to Mozambique through the Ressano Garcia border, the busiest in the country, said Juca Bata, spokesman for Senami in Maputo province.
“Some of them entered South Africa legally, but stayed for over 30 days, the legally established time, and were therefore returned to Mozambique,” he said.
According to the spokesman, 385 Mozambicans were deported on 29 December 2021 alone, 326 of them for illegal immigration.
According to Juca Bata, in addition to illegal immigration, among the causes for deportation were drug trafficking, illegal possession of weapons, bodily harm, theft and poaching.
Some of the Mozambicans were in prison and were repatriated after benefiting from a pardon as part of South Africa’s response to the pandemic to relieve prison facilities.
About 90 percent of the Mozambicans who returned to the country went to the provinces of Maputo, Inhambane and Gaza, all in the south of the country.
South Africa is home to the largest Mozambican diaspora, with over two million living there.