Public service minister July Moyo says they have no record of 443 children being returned by South Africa after being “trafficked” into that country from Zimbabwe.
He however, confirms 124 undocumented children were intercepted by Zimbabwean authorities and are being reunited with families.
His comments comes after the Border Management Authority (BMA) said it had intercepted 42 buses transporting 443 unaccompanied children believed to be from Zimbabwe to South Africa.
BMA said the children, under the age of eight, were without any parents or guardians.
BMA commissioner Michael Masiapato revealed the discovery of the alleged human trafficking operation during a festive season border control briefing on Sunday in Pretoria.
Masiapato said the children were discovered during a sting operation on Saturday at the Beitbridge border post involving police, border guards and a home affairs’ anti-corruption team.
“They were able to stop and search about 42 buses trying to enter South Africa and [in] them we found 443 children under the age of eight without any parent or guardian. They were [allegedly] being trafficked into South Africa.
“We were able to take them out of those buses and engage with the Zimbabwe officials and we handed them back to Zimbabwe for processing [back] into the country,” he said.
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