Thobile Lamati, the director-general in the Department of Employment and Labour.

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa is on track to have a draft national labour migration policy by March, its department of employment and labour says.

The department's chief director for public employment services Esther Tloane told a workshop that South Africa was one of the high receiving countries for migrants on the continent, which posed serious challenges.

“The policy we are developing should not displace South Africans. We need to strike a balance – this process is a multi-departmental area that needs co-ordination while taking consideration of international conventions,” she said.

Southern African Development Community (SADC) labour ministers agreed in 2013 to develop national frameworks, setting a November 2019 deadline for member states.

South Africa's labour department formalised its road map for the development of the policy in 2016, and Tloane said it was tailored in line with SADC and African Union protocols as well as international agreements.

Employment and labour minister Thulas Nxesi stressed the need to "facilitate regulation and bring order to this difficult area, mindful of the sensitivities involved, including relations with our neighbours to the north (and) the divisive cheap labour policy being adopted by employers".

The policy should also be "also mindful of the skills and economic stimulus that immigrants can bring; whilst ensuring that South African nationals are not squeezed out of employment in certain sectors", he said.

His comments come in the wake of recent attacks of mainly Africa migrants whom locals have accused of "stealing jobs" among other complaints.

"What we must all agree is that the violent and unlawful attacks on non-nationals and their property that we have witnessed can never, under any circumstances be justified," Nxesi said.

African News Agency (ANA)