Migration News - March 1999

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March 1999

Domingo Hlongwane, a 22-year-old "illegal immigrant" says that the first time he was deported to Mozambique he was penniless, but he managed to slip into the group that had paid the guards for their freedom. The second time he was too scared to fool the guards because he alleges that he witnessed a guard shoot an immigrant through the hand after he refused to sit "chafkop". Hlongwane had only R20 with him on the train, but the guards decided to give him a discount. He claims the guards had boasted that they had had a profitable journey, netting R3 700 from the immigrants. He leapt off the train and injured his foot. "Most of the South African people are hostile to us," complains Hlongwane. "They call us ikwerekwere [a derogatory term for foreigners], they accuse us of taking their jobs, sleeping with their women, being responsible for crime and stealing their land. "We're also abused by the people who employ us ... when it comes to the end of the month, instead of paying us, they call the police and have us arrested. When the police take us, they steal our possessions. They say that when we came into the country we had nothing, so we must leave with nothing."

Updated June 07, 1999