The South African Journalist, Ntombizodwa Patience Makhoba was detained and barred from entering the country through Chileka International Airport in Blantyre on Monday.
According to Makhoba, she came to Malawi to do an investigative documentary on a topic she could not reveal. However, rumour has it that she came on an assignment to trace the roots of one South African based Malawian, a prominent business magnate.
According to Immigration Department National Public Relations Officer, Joseph Chauwa, Makhoba committed no sin but rather did not meet the requirements a foreigner is expected to when entering the country.
The Immigration Department did not receive orders from anywhere, nor forced to act as such against the journalist by any one in high office, but as a department, we were just doing our job of managing entry and exit of people in and out of the country.
We were just abiding by our laws stated in Section 21, (1) of the Immigration Act (1988) which give us the right to scrutinize all entries of foreigners in the country, explained Chauwa.
He indicated that this was an international practice where even a Malawian journalist or any other Malawian could not just go to a foreign country to work there without proper papers like a work permit.
He said the SA Journalist Makhoba did have a valid passport and other travel documents, but she did not have a clearance letter from Ministry of Information, she did not have a work permit and she failed to articulate her host in an entry card.
Chauwa added that the Immigration Department does this all the time to foreigners who do not meet requirements, saying the journalist’s case had just been exaggerated by the media because the person in mention is their fellow journalist.
In an earlier interview with The Nation Newspaper, Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Malawi Chairperson, Teresa Ndanga said her organisation was fallowing the issue with keen interest and that it had not yet established reasons for the journalist’s detention and deportation.
Source: MANA Online