Pretoria -

A clampdown on illegal immigrants led to 200 arrests in Sunnyside, Pretoria on Thursday.

Officials from the department of home affairs, trade and industry, police and the SA Revenue Service swooped on businesses and streets in the densely populated area.

Home affairs head of law enforcement Amanda Ledwaba said the sting operation was part of ongoing efforts to curb illegal immigration.

“We have detained those people we have found without valid documents to be in South Africa. We will still be verifying their status and deporting some of them,” she said.

Ledwaba said before being deported to their country of origin, every person was given a chance to appeal the deportation process.

“If they choose to contest the deportation, we release them. We give them a notice instructing them to report to a home affairs centre at intervals until the whole appeal process is over,” she said.

Similar operations had been carried in Garsfontein and Johannesburg, said Ledwaba.

“We do these raids when we have observed the trends, or members of the public give us tip-offs. We are set to continue with such programmes randomly in the streets or at road blocks,” she said.

Numerous people were bundled into police vans as officials went into every shop, stopped people in the streets and demanded to see documentation. - Sapa