Avatar photo

Compiled by Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Digital Deputy News Editor

Eight Mozambican boys rescued from Chinese factory in SA to be sent back home

The boys were recruited by a man driving a taxi

The Gauteng department of social development social workers are in the process of repatriating eight Mozambican boys back home.

The police found the eight Mozambican boys during a raid initiated by the department of labour and employment.

ALSO READ: Increase in crime against children reaching crisis proportions

This after it received information that a factory owned by a Chinese national in Nigel was employing children and undocumented foreigners in January.

The department placed the boys, between 13 and 17 years old, at the Mary Moodley Child and Youth Care Centre in Benoni.

The department opened a case of child labour, poor working conditions and employing undocumented minors against the owner of the electrical supply company in Nigel.

ALSO READ: Alleged trafficker, found with 14 undocumented children, denied bail

The Mozambican boys came to South Africa on 15 January in a taxi with 14 other boys from their village.

The boys told the social workers that at the time, a Nigel company driver in Mozambique was recruiting them.

“The driver of the taxi was reported to have come from the same village and asked young men and families who were interested in working in Johannesburg. He informed the recruits and family members that there was no need for passports or documents,” said spokesperson Themba Gadebe.

“They said a minibus was driving around their village, asking for those who wanted to come to South Africa for better opportunities.”

According to the Mozambican boys, inside the minibus, there were other children of their age wearing expensive sneakers and iPhones, convincing them to come with them.

ALSO READ: Police intercept vehicles loaded with 133 undocumented men, women and children near Polokwane

On Tuesday, the Children’s Court in Nigel gave the department permission to release the boys from centre to repatriate them and hand them over to their counterparts in Mozambique.

The social workers in Mozambique will then reunify the children with their parents.

Mozambican boys ‘happy’

“This was made possible after the Mozambican consulate issued them with temporary travel documents. They allowed a care-to-care process between the social development departments in the two countries.

The department will hand over the boys to social workers at the Komatipoort Border Post.

ALSO READ: More than 130 kidnapped Nigerian schoolchildren released

Baby Makhumisani, a social work manager from the department’s Nigel office in Ekurhuleni, said the repatriation of the boys highlights the problem of child trafficking.

“The children are happy, and we are happy as a team because we managed to complete the matter,” said Makhumisani.

“These children, who were placed in our institutions, were no longer happy since there was a language barrier. Sometimes social workers will receive calls from institutions complaining that they are refusing to eat their food.”

One of the boys told the department: “At last, I am happy that I am going back to my family. The man who brought us here in South Africa lied to us. Everything he promised us was a lie.”

“It is not like we are starving where we are coming from. Our intention was to work while studying, and we were going to buy ourselves Air Force sneakers and iPhones. To our surprise, they locked us in a hall where we worked day and night.

“Instead, they paid us R75 a day, and would open for us only on Sunday to buy food and toiletries.

ALSO READ: Vulnerable children tossed out onto the street?

“And one thing about South Africa is that it is very cold, and we did not have warm clothes. Thanks to social workers who were able to get us warm clothes,” says one rescued boy.

Police arrested the owner of the factory. He is out on bail.

Read more on these topics

foreign nationals human trafficking Mozambique