Home South African Immigration reforms a Band-Aid solution, says Mashaba

Immigration reforms a Band-Aid solution, says Mashaba


ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba is not convinced by the minister of Home Affair’s latest proposed immigration law reforms.

ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha

ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba is not convinced by the minister of Home Affair’s latest proposed immigration law reforms.

On Sunday, Minister Aaron Motsoaledi proposed stringent laws aimed at improving the granting of citizenship, immigration and refugees permits in the country.

The minister released the proposed White Paper on the draft policy framework on citizenship for public comment.

However, Mashaba, who has expressed concern over the country’s porous borders, said the planned immigration reforms by Motsoaledi are nothing more than an attempt to place a Band-Aid on a bullet wound.

“As a party which values the rule of law, ActionSA has repeatedly asserted that the problem with South Africa’s immigration regime does not lie with the country’s laws, but with the application of those laws by state agencies and the failure to secure our borders,” Mashaba said.

Motsoaledi indicated that his department was unable to account for the millions of undocumented foreigners in the country. He said the department deported up to 20,000 illegal foreigners each year at huge economic cost to the country.

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“Many foreigners come to South Africa and stay in the country illegally. No one can account for all the undocumented migrants. The Department of Home Affairs has no idea as to how many illegal migrants are in South Africa.

“There are those who believe that Stats South Africa knows. But it does not. I have checked this many times with the statistician-general (Risenga Maluleke), especially after the recent statistics being released,” the minister said.

Mashaba said this was a clear indication of poor border management controls.

“It is the dysfunctional state of the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) and our border management agencies which have led to the current dire situation, and legal reforms will therefore unlikely address the issue unless coupled with vast institutional improvements, notably to the DHA, and the strengthening of our porous borders,” he said.

Mashaba said his party would provide input into the white paper before the January deadline, in line with the policies adopted at ActionSA’s inaugural policy conference in September.

“At the policy conference delegates voted that when we enter government, vast reforms at the DHA should be undertaken to streamline the process of obtaining visas and work permits for those wishing to enter South Africa legally, while clamping down on corruption and the issuing of fraudulent documentation.”

Mashaba said his party accepted that there was a need for skilled immigrants to help the country through its economic crisis, however, this must be done according to strict regulations to ensure South Africa’s sovereignty was not threatened.

“Skilled professionals and investors who are able to contribute to our economy and create jobs, thereby improving the lives of our people, should also be encouraged and incentivised to come to South Africa,” he said.

“ActionSA believes that South Africa is a country built on the backs of migrants from across the world, and immigrants should therefore be welcomed. But, when immigrants come to South Africa they should do so legally and adhere to our laws.”

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