Police searching suspects for drug possession in Manenberg during crime prevention raids. Some 44 African foreigners arrested during an Operation Fiela swoop will be deported. Picture Leon Lestrade.

Cape Town -

About 44 African foreigners arrested last weekend during an Operation Fiela swoop will be deported.

Government spokeswoman Phumla Williams said 37 others arrested “without the necessary documentation” had been released.

Williams added: “All illegal foreign nationals are deported to their countries of origin.”

Operation Fiela is the government’s crime-combating initiative. Its operation last Saturday resulted in the arrests of people with drugs and counterfeit goods at the busy Cape Town station deck.

Organisations working with refugees or those seeking asylum said it was difficult for foreigners to sort out their paperwork as they did not have money to travel to other cities where this had to be done.

This followed the closure of the city’s Refugee Reception Office, by the Department of Home Affairs.

Laura Wylie, director of the Adonis Musati Project which works with refugees, said they had “heard more stories of quick deportations being arranged” by officials.

Wylie said there were currently “many, many” Africans without proper paperwork in Cape Town.

Home Affairs’ spokesmen did not respond to queries.

Sunday Argus