South Africa acts on illegal immigrants

Staff Reporter

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs, Advocate Bongani Bongo, this week urged the country’s authorities to fully implement provisions of the country’s immigration laws.

Briefing the legislative assembly Tuesday, Adv. Bongo said full implementation of immigration laws and regulations was necessary to ensure that everyone within the borders of South Africa is documented, arguing that information gathered through documentation was essential for other government departments and non-governmental organisations to plan their work effectively. 

The portfolio committee committed itself to strengthening oversight on various aspects of the department’s work, especially around immigration, adding the National Development Plan was clear on the advantages of legal and developmental migration, with the intention to strengthen the department’s work in this area.

“The committee is clear that immigration should be legal and it wants the department to strengthen procedures for processing immigrants’ applications. It is untenable that a country can have large numbers of undocumented immigrants and nothing is done about it,” said Adv Bongo

The committee also expressed belief that completing the legislative-making process of the Border Management Authority was necessary to safeguard South Africa’s borders.

A seamless process in and out of the country would be a pillar in curbing illegal immigration, while ensuring staff capacity at the Immigration Services Inspectorate should be a priority, as it remained understaffed.

“But enforcement must be preceded by properly working application systems that are not prone to inordinate delays,” Adv Bongo emphasized.

He said the fight against forgery and corruption must be strengthened by weeding out corrupt elements within Home Affairs, whose behavior of accepting bribes to circumvent the system would not be tolerated.

The committee is scheduled for an oversight visit to Gauteng Province on August 26-30, during which time it will tentatively engage with the Department of Home Affairs and other stakeholders, in an attempt to resolve some of the challenges around documenting migrants.    

“The committee condemns in the strongest terms the attack on law enforcement officials in the City of Johannesburg. Police have an important role to play in securing the safety of all and must not be subjected to such attacks. The committee also plans to engage with the Portfolio Committee of Small Business Development to ensure that regulations around small business trading are strengthened.”

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