The Department of Social Development in Limpopo has repatriated 15 unaccompanied minors to Zimbabwe. The children all lost their parents after crossing the border between Zimbabwe and South Africa. There have been major delays at the Beitbridge border post as thousands of people attempt to get back into South Africa following the festive break.
This has raised major concerns over the possible spreading of Covid-19 due to the large crowds and a lack of social distancing. The province recorded 104 positive cases at the border post over the past few days. The chaos at the borders has also led to an increase in the number of people crossing the border illegally.
The spokesperson for the provincial Department of Social Development, Witness Tiva said the children were lost while crossing the border illegally with their parents.
“As the Department of Social Development in Limpopo, we are working with members of the South African Police Services, the Department of Home Affairs and other relevant departments to ensure that when we come across unaccompanied minors, we are able to activate all our system and ensure that we put them in a place of safety and active all system to reunite them with their families either in Zimbabwe, South Africa or where they come from,” said Tiva.
Tiva said the department managed to send back 15 minors who were kept at the Polokwane Welfare Complex. He said this was made possible through the cooperation that the department received from its Zimbabwean counterpart and members of the SAPS and Home Affairs. He added that all these stakeholders are working hand in hand to ensure that a safe environment for minors who entered in South Africa illegally is created.
The province only dealt with one unaccompanied minor during the festive season. In the Musina area, we had one incident of an unaccompanied minor who was rescued by the police while the mother was trying to cross the Limpopo River. We managed to intervene and ensure that the kid get repatriated and reunited with the family in Zimbabwe,” he said.