Although it's about an unlawful deportation, this story has some underlying subtleties.

Court rules deportations unlawful

The Pretoria High Court has ordered government officials who illegally deported three Chinese nationals to share in paying for the cost of flying them back to South Africa. reported that Judge Essop Patel ruled on Tuesday that the deportations on December 2 of Fang Yan, Miexiang Gao and Wenyu Gao were unlawful and "in breach and disobedience" of an earlier interim interdict preventing their deportation.

The judge ordered that the Minister of Home Affairs Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Special Investigations Unit assistant director Manicum Moodley, Home Affairs chief immigration officer Sam Langa and head of the Lindela repatriation centre R Marhule, be jointly liable to pay all the costs of air travel to fly the three individuals back from China to South Africa for a court appearance on March 15.

Mapisa-Nqakula was also ordered to contact the three deportees, through the South African Embassy in China, within two weeks and issue visas to them.

If she can not deliver the applicants to the court, Mapisa-Nqakula must provide the court with an affidavit explaining why she could not.

Mapisa-Nqakula must also investigate and submit a written report to the high court registrar by March 12, explaining why the three were deported. Patel also ordered that a fourth Chinese national, Xianyun Yan, be released immediately from Lindela or wherever she was being detained and be given a temporary residence permit so she can get a job.

A leading immigration attorney described the ruling as "extraordinary and salutary".

He told Polity that it indicated the court's displeasure at the fact that some Home Affairs officials acted with impunity. He said the order also appeared to capture the feeling that the South African taxpayers should not be expected to foot the bill when officials abused their offices.

"This order may have some Home Affairs officials thinking twice before they again dare to contravene a direct order of the court," the attorney said.
from M&G here
My main fascination is the fact that the court is holding the officials from Home Affairs accountable at a personal level. This could be significant for businesses and employees.

My curiosity is also piqued that given they acted against a court order, surely they should be held in contempt of court too?