33 of intercepted Malawian ‘children’ discovered to be adults


It has transpired that only 24 out of the 57 ‘children’ that were intercepted as they were being trafficked to South Africa are children and the rest are adults.

The Daily Times has learnt that the South African Department of Social development conducted an investigation on the ‘children’ and discovered that the 33 are not children as earlier indicated.

“We aren’t sure of how they reached to this conclusion but this is the latest development. Following this revelation, the adults have been moved to a detention place for adults while the children will continue to be treated as children until their repatriation is done,” said acting spokesperson for Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, John Kabaghe.


He disclosed that the 24 children will be repatriated home on the basis that they are children and this will be done automatically once the South African Department of Social Services in conjunction with the Malawi mission in South Africa have connected with their parents and guardians in Malawi.

The adults that were arrested during the time the children were intercepted are being kept at Thambazimbi Detention Centre.

Last month, the South African Police Service arrested 82 Malawians who were travelling to South Africa in a closed three tonne truck. fifty-seven of them were said to be children and were moved to a safe shelter for tests and care as they were believed to be traumatised.


All the 82 people had no travelling documents. The driver and two others were arrested for human trafficking. The suspects appeared briefly at the Rustenburg Regional Magistrate’s Court a day after and their case has been postponed to 13 September 2016. They are facing 57 counts of human trafficking.

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