Joburg Mayor Herman Mashaba. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba has written to Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant and Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba requesting an urgent meeting to address the issue of local businesses employing undocumented foreigners. Mashaba said he has received numerous complaints from unemployed  Joburg residents about businesses that prefer hiring undocumented foreigners instead of locals. 

He said this issue has to be addressed as some companies hired foreigners so that they could avoid the need to adhere to labour laws. "During my visit to the community (Slovo Park), residents complained of how a neighbouring factory were employing undocumented immigrants in contravention of the law. By employing undocumented immigrants, these business owners are flouting immigration and labour laws and acting against the interest of over just 900 000 residents in Johannesburg who are unemployed," said Mashaba. 

"These businesses also serve to exploit undocumented immigrants, unable to exercise labour rights of their own." Mashaba said the responsibility of ensuring the safeguard of borders and the adherence to labour laws fell within the boundaries of national government.  

"This situation continues to stem from the failures of national government to guard our borders and address the crisis of illegal immigration in our country. Government intervention is also crucial to preventing the exploitation of undocumented immigrants who, by virtue of their status, can sometimes be forced to work under unsafe conditions," he said.

Mashaba has often taken a strong stance against undocumented foreigners. He has previously stated that preferences for services will be given to Joburg residents and he does not "run a city of the world". 

"The intention of this engagement with the two Ministers will be to ensure that efforts to address this issue are stepped up in Johannesburg. It requires the departments to work with the city and ensure that a plan is in place to identify offending employers and correct the situation," said Mashaba.


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