“Let me make one thing clear; I am not calling for undocumented migrants to be immediately deported,” Mashaba told members of the media on Tuesday.
“What I’m doing is calling for the Department of Home Affairs to perform on their constitutional mandate to ensure that all those who qualify for asylum are processed and provided with their papers. Should individuals not qualify, or should they have committed crimes within our borders, then they should be sent home.”
The media briefing was hosted by the South African Human Rights Commission to publicise the signing of a settlement agreement between Mashaba and the African Diaspora Forum.
The settlement is the final step of a mediation process that began when the ADF accused Mashaba of making xenophobic remarks earlier this year.
“This mediation process has given us the opportunity to recognise that we actually have a great deal in common when it comes to what we are trying to achieve,” Mashaba said.
Members of the ADF were satisfied with the outcome of the meeting.
“People need to be extremely cautious about what they are saying, and I totally believe that the mayor realised it,” said ADF executive committee member Dr Ur Koumba. “It’s a complex issue. I’m sure it’s also difficult for people at Home Affairs. It’s not just about throwing tantrums or blaming each other or pointing fingers. I think what should be done is to make sure that everybody works together.”
Ikani Cyprian, also a member of the ADF’s executive committee, said: “I think there’s positive vision in this.
“We want the people in the government to condemn (xenophobia) immediately. Not to withdraw and wait until people die before they start talking.”
Members of the media asked Mashaba and the other government officials present if they were aware of ominous audio clips circulating on the internet that threatened acts of violence towards foreigners in Joburg on November 2. The source of the recordings is unknown.
The officials responded that they were unaware of the clips.