ALMON Mbingo, from the Border Restoration Committee said Swazis found to have entered South Africa without passports in the Mpumalanga province shouldn’t be arrested, as they would be at ‘home’.
Mbingo said this during a press briefing on Monday during which journalists were briefed on progress made by the committee.
This would also mean that those Swazis born in South Africa should not be arrested when found with invalid passports in Swaziland.
Mbingo said; “there is no record documenting the borderline of Swaziland saying the actual demarcation extends much farther than is known”.
Much to the shock of journalists, Mbingo said it was still not clear as to where exactly the borderline of Swaziland extended and Swazis without passport should not be considered illegal immigrants in South Africa.
According to information sourced from the internet, hundreds of Swazis are deported every year for being in South Africa without legal documents.
Court records in Swaziland also reveal that those Swazis domiciled in South Africa are deported when found in Swaziland without passports.
“They shouldn’t be deported,” said Mbingo.
He further said that BRC was still in the process of negotiating with neighbouring South Africa as to how far Swaziland extended.
The committee had also been tasked with reclaiming land, known as concession land believed to have been given to the early settlers.
Speaking at the same briefing, acting Chairperson, Mabili Dlamini said that the actual borders exceeded farther than known by most Swazis.
Dlamini also revealed that the committee was petitioned by Swazis living in South Africa to speed up the land claim so they could return ‘home’.
If they say so - Home Affairs
THE Principal Secretary in the ministry of home affairs said only BRC could decide concerning the issue of boundaries.
The PS, Anthony Masilela, when reached for comment said that the issue of the border dispute was still being addressed by BRC and South Africa. He said that if BRC said that Swazis living illegally in South Africa or Swaziland shouldn’t be arrested then it should be like that.
According to BRC, Swazis shouldn’t be arrested when found without passports in areas such as Mpumalanga since these areas were still under dispute.
When told about the statement made by BRC, Masilela who referred to the committee as Labadzala said that only they had the power to change that.
He, however, quickly added that there was no law stopping immigration officers from arresting Swazis found in the Kingdom or South Africa without legal identity documents.