AT LEAST 10 people sustained injuries yesterday during a riot at the Lindela Repatriation Centre in the West Rand.
The centre is used to keep illegal immigrants before they are repatriated to their respective countries.
It is understood that inmates, believed to be made up mainly of Nigerian and Ethopian nationals, rioted after management refused to listen to their complains about being kept at the centre for too long.
The Legal Resource Centre said in a statement yesterday: “A group of 70 to 80 Nigerian and Ethiopian nationals detained at Lindela, some in excess of nine months, requested a meeting with immigration officials to determine their status.
“They wanted to know what their position was. Apparently, immigration officials were unwilling to meet with the detainees. This led to frustration. After shouting was heard, a volley of rubber bullets was fired at the group and tear gas was released into the yard.”
Chief Director at Home Affairs Modiri Matthews confirmed the incident but downplayed the incident. “It was not a riot. There were some injuries, not serious. There was a scuffle by some of the inmates but we managed to contain it. The matter is under investigation, so we cannot at this stage say what was the cause.”
He said violence broke out at about 10am.