Deportation Of Foreigners & Xenophobic Attacks In South Africa
: 2019-04-06 18:28:47

The Minister of Home Affairs, Siyabonga Cwele, indicated on Friday 05 April 2019, that South Africa is spending significant amounts of money, annually, on deporting illegal immigrants back to their countries of origin.

Declining to state the exact amount of money spent on the exercise, the Minister indicated to journalists in Pretoria, that sometimes the deported individuals find their way back across South Africa's borders.

"The problem is that people who cross our borderline are being trafficked into South Africa. The borderline is manned by the Department of Defence, but they cannot be at every point. The people are trafficked through all sort of borderline entry, and they come into South Africa. We have a problem of people coming into the country illegally," said the Minister, after a meeting with heads of diplomatic missions in Pretoria.

"We have a breakdown on which country to deport the people to and so on. We have agreed here, with the ambassadors, that we will work together to minimise this, and also to minimise the return. Some of the people we send across, they come back, and we get them again".

The Minister said inspections were being done at work-places across South Africa, to determine the legal standing of employees. The significant amounts of money being spent on deportations had been disclosed, during the closed-door meeting with the diplomats.

"We are saying, it is worrying us that we are spending a significant amount over four years just for deportations. We have the responsibility to deport, once we have arrested them. We must deport them within a certain period,"  said the Minister.

The Minister emphasised, however, that the majority of foreign nationals in South Africa are not criminals, and many are making considerable contributions to the economy of the Republic of South Africa.

"We should communicate positively, that not every foreign national in here is a criminal. Some of them contribute positively to the growth of our country," said the Minister.

The Police Minister, Bheki Cele, said the foreign envoys have committed to work with the government, in a bid to coordinate the movement of people into, and out of South Africa.

"The debate of whether the attack on foreigners is xenophobia, or criminality, will continue. We are beginning to understand, that these sporadic actions of the communities, are usually a reaction to some kind of activities on the ground. It was raised, that there are many peaceful communities, where you would not determine that there are foreigners living there, peacefully,"said Cele.

"We want to make sure that we work with our brothers from the continent, the SADC region, to create a better way of living peacefully, in an environment going beyond the South African borders. Pan-Africanism must prevail, and peace becomes part of Africa."

International Relations Minister, Lindiwe Sisulu, said South Africa welcomes foreign nationals, but they have to abide by the immigration rules.

Last week, more than 150 foreigners, mostly Malawians, living in an informal settlement in Clare Estate, in Durban, had to flee the area after they were attacked by a group of men.

Several messages were doing the rounds in South Africa, warning of protests against the employment of foreign nationals in the country. A task team has been set up, to probe the socio-economic factors which are fuelling attacks on foreigners in South Africa.

The intelligence service is investigating two SMSs doing the rounds, inciting xenophobic attacks. The Police Minister made the announcement, following the meeting between government, and the African diplomatic corps.

The International Relations Department has promised to scale up its public awareness drive, to educate South Africans about living in peace alongside other nationalities.

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