South Africa Agrees to Two-Week Delay to Immigrant Deportations

South Africa’s government agreed to delay for two weeks the deportation of hundreds of undocumented immigrants detained on May 8 in a police raid at a church in central Johannesburg, a local human rights group said.

Lawyers for Human Rights will be given access to the detainees, Melissa du Preez, communications manager at the group, said Tuesday by text message. As many as 400 people were arrested at the Central Methodist Church, which has been used as a haven for undocumented immigrants.

“All demands agreed to and LHR withdrew contempt application,” Du Preez said in the message, referring to an agreement between the rights group and the Department of Home Affairs.

South Africa this year experienced its worst outbreak of violence directed at foreigners since 2008. At least seven people died and thousands were driven from their homes when anti-immigrant attacks flared in the eastern KwaZulu-Natal province at the end of March. In January, five people were killed in violence in townships around Johannesburg.

— With assistance by Palesa Vuyolwethu Tshandu

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