JOHANNESBURG – There was a protest outside the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Monday morning where dozens of undocumented migrants were due to appear.
They were arrested last week during raids on businesses selling counterfeit goods in the Joburg CBD.
The large-scale operation comprising members of the South African Police Service, metro police, and customs officials also resulted in the confiscation of illegal firearms.
The raids drew sharp criticism, with the authorities accused of being heavy-handed.
Chairperson of the Africa Diaspora Forum Dr Vusumuzi Sibanda said some of those who were detained at police stations have claimed that they were ill-treated.
“The inhuman treatment was in the cells, which were cramped. They couldn’t even be given jerseys for those who were cold and couldn’t get visits from their relatives, they couldn’t even sleep because there was no place to sleep,” Sibanda said.
Meanwhile, the seven police officers who were also arrested last week after the raids were expected to appear in court too.
Five of them were caught allegedly trying to resell confiscated goods to the illegal traders. Two others were accused of leaking information about the planned operations.