By Paul Nyathi | The South African government plans to depot back to Zimbabwe eight children held by their immigration authorities for three months despite being claimed by their parents who live in Cape Town.
The children were picked up by the immigration officers on November 11 last year while travelling to South Africa with a cross border transporter unaccompanied and without passports.
The children were spotted on the back of truck by observers who reported the matter to the police assuming that they were victims of human trafficking.
A joint unit of the police and immigration officers intercepted the vehicle at a Rustenburg garage and rescued the children.
They have been held by the department of social development for three months in Rustenburg without being granted access to their parents‚ some of whom have tried to visit.
On Wednesday‚ three of the parents arrived at a Rustenburg safe house and were denied access to the children. The parents later learnt that the children had been moved to an unknown location.
The department of social development has refused to reveal their location.
A father of a six-year-old learned on Wednesday that his son had been moved to an unknown place. He told South African daily TimesLIVE,
“They don’t want to tell us where they put our children … Please help us get our children.”
Department of social development spokesperson Lumka Oliphant said: “They are in the care and protection of the department of social development. The department has received confirmation from the Zimbabwean government of their preparedness to receive the children at the Robert Mugabe International airport next month. The department is now awaiting a waiver from the SA Department of Home Affairs.”