DA unveiling of the party’s plan to tackle illegal immigration. From left to right: Solly Msimanga, Jacques Julius and Solly Malatsi. Picture: Thembelihle Mkhonza/ANA

Johannesburg - The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Monday, said no country in the world could afford to not secure their borders because uncontrolled immigration violates the rights of both nationals of a given country and foreign nationals who seek to be legally recognised.

The DA said South Africa, under the African National Congress (ANC) was not the country it could be. 

On Monday, the party unveiled their plans to tackle immigration and said the ANC had failed to deal with illegal immigration.

DA spokesperson on immigration, Jacques Julius said the impact of porous borders and an ineffective, mostly corrupt department of home affairs (DHA) has created a situation where they were completely unaware of the number of people who come in and out of the country.

He said that that had profound consequences on the efforts against cross-border crime such as human and drug trafficking, stock theft as well as on the provision of basic services of people -- as local and provincial governments were forced to plan and budget for service provision without the most basic of information.

“We believe that we must welcome our foreign nationals, they must be here legally though, and South Africans must be able to trust the system is effectively protecting them,” said Julius.

He said that the failure of DHA to prevent, detect and correct undocumented migration means many thousands of undocumented migrants have been living in South Africa for longer periods of time.

The DA said they were planning to strengthen the country’s border security through proper control and order, revamping and improving border management.

“We will ensure that the corruption and inefficiency endemic to DHA is eradicated. This will involve initiating a once-off investigation into corruption in the department led by a reformed [Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation better known as the] Hawks,” said Julius.

“Any officials found guilty of corruption or fraud will be blacklisted and prevented from working for any state agency or government department. To address inefficiency, the DA would enhance and improve the systems and technology, capacity, and competency levels through adequate training to officials at home affairs.”

Julius said that they will ensure undocumented immigrants were regularised or assisted in leaving the country if they do not meet the criteria for remaining in the country.

“We also believe that it is important to assist, support and care for legitimate refugees and asylum seekers. Attract foreign nationals with scarce skills to South Africa to help us grow our economy and create jobs,” he said.

“Skilled immigrants and business people must be welcome in our country. We need to attract highly skilled immigrants to fill our skills gaps and allow them to build businesses and create jobs.”

Julius said that the party’s immigration plan will not only fix undocumented immigration and fix the dysfunctional DHA, but it will ultimately secure borders.

“This will provide the protection of both South Africans and foreign nationals who live in our country,” said Julius.

African News Agency (ANA)