Ramaphosa and Motsoaledi’s tough stance on illegal foreigners ‘electioneering’, say opposition parties

Ramaphosa and Motsoaledi’s tough stance on illegal foreigners ‘electioneering’, say opposition parties. Picture: Chris Collingridge 874

Ramaphosa and Motsoaledi’s tough stance on illegal foreigners ‘electioneering’, say opposition parties. Picture: Chris Collingridge 874

Published Feb 24, 2024


Opposition parties are unimpressed by what looks like a tough stance being taken by the Home Affairs Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi and this week’s proclamation by President Cyril Ramaphosa, authorising the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to probe maladministration at Home Affairs and the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa.

Ramaphosa has indicated that the investigations at Home Affairs relate to the issuing of permits, visas and citizenship and will span 20 years – between 2004 and 2024.

“The SIU will also investigate improper or unlawful conduct by officials or employees of Home Affairs in relation to the installation of T200 firewalls. The proclamation empowers the SIU to investigate any irregular, unlawful or improper conduct by officials or employees of Home Affairs or any other person or entity, in relation to the allegations being investigated,” the forensic investigation and litigation agency said.

When it comes to companies deliberately employing illegal foreigners, Motsoaledi, during a stakeholder engagement in the Eastern Cape this week, said those found guilty should be fined and imprisoned.

Motsoaledi advocated for sanctions against those who knowingly employ undocumented foreigners, suggested implementing by-laws to prevent them from operating businesses, and encouraged parents to register their children to prevent cases such as that of Thabo Bester.

“Anyone who knowingly employs an illegal foreigner or a foreigner in violation of this act shall be guilty of an offence and liable, upon conviction, to a fine or imprisonment not exceeding one year. Additionally, a second conviction of such an offence shall be punishable by imprisonment not exceeding two years or a fine,” said Motsoaledi.

However, the ATM and the Patriotic Alliance (PA), who have been critical of the country’s poor management of borders and the immigration issue, slammed the move as nothing but electioneering.

Speaking to Independent Media this week, PA spokesperson, Steve Motale, said the latest announcement by the government is simply an attempt at soliciting votes from gullible South Africans.

“This issue of illegal immigrants has a negative impact on the country. All along we have been branded xenophobic when we were calling for these measures to be taken. Only now, because it is election time, we are seeing government saying a lot of things about illegal immigration. Now you ask yourself, why now? This government is taking South Africans for fools,” Motale said.

ATM spokesperson, Zama Ntshona, echoed Motale’s sentiments, saying employment of foreigners could only be allowed under exceptional circumstances.

“We welcome the recent pronouncements by government. Our stance has been clear on immigrants, that they can only be employed under exceptional circumstances when they posses a rare or scarce skills that must be transferred to South Africans,” Ntshona said.

However, the EFF has refused to change its immigration policy and remains steadfast that a united Africa is the way to go.

Early this month, EFF treasurer Omphile Maotwe told the SABC News in Durban during its manifesto launch that expelling immigrants would not be in South Africa's best interests saying that a united Africa is the way to go.

“People from different parts of the continent are all Africans, and closing the borders will not help unemployment,” she said.

The DA said it has a simple solution to the immigration issue suggesting that for foreigners should be allowed to apply for amnesty.

The DA said its migration policy is centred on three pillars: free movement of people, economic participation of migrants and addressing harmful myths about foreign nationals.

“A critical proposal is to provide an amnesty period for all undocumented migrants. Giving them an opportunity to either return to their home and attempt to re-enter legally, without prejudice, or to apply for the relevant visa from within SA,” the party says.

Saturday Star

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