A total of 44 immigrants were arrested on 17 May 2020 by members of Bethlehem SAPS after a tip-off from community members. This comes after the community members were concerned about a group of men playing soccer and others sitting inside a house near Pretorius Kloof in Bethlehem that allegedly belongs to the municipality.
According to a statement by the Provincial Commissioner of the Free State, upon arrival the police found about 55 men with 44 of them coming from various African countries. The 44 men are originally from Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi and did not have the proper/legal documents that allow them to be in South Africa.
According to the statement, it was later revealed that the men were brought to Bethlehem to install Wi-Fi Routers around the suburbs of the town by a company from Johannesburg. None of the 44 suspects could indicate exactly who the contractor was. The Department of Labour was engaged and Home Affairs handled the matter to secure deportation of the illegal immigrants.
The remaining 11 of the 55 men were confirmed to be South African citizens. Free State Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant-General Baile Motswenyane warned those who come into South Africa without proper documentation and says they will always face the full might of the law.