The government is contemplating tough new measures to tackle the growing immigration crisis in South Africa.
This follows an attack on police in the Johannesburg central business district after they tried to confiscate fake goods.
The shop owners embarked on a violent protest, which included pelting the police and police vehicles with stones.
Soon after this incident the police conducted raids in the Johannesburg inner city and arrested hundreds of illegal immigrants.
The chairman of the parliamentary portfolio committee on home affairs, Bongani Bongo, welcomed the raid and arrests.
Bongo said while legal and developmental immigration is encouraged, illegal immigration must be discouraged at all times.
Home Affairs Deputy Minister Njabulo Nzuza subsequently said they want to make it nearly impossible for people to illegally enter South Africa.
Illegal immigrant problem in South Africa
While it is unclear how many illegal immigrants are living in South Africa, most estimates suggest that it is counted in millions.
Illegal immigrants are blamed for many societal ills, including the increase in crime and putting strain on the state’s support systems.
Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba previously accused undocumented migrants of being the masterminds behind inner-city crime.
Former Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga echoed these views and called on the government to address the issue as it was causing problems in the city.
The fight against illegal immigrants
Bongo said the government will have a three-pronged approach to tackle illegal immigration.
- Completing the legislative-making process of the Border Management Authority to safeguard South Africa’s borders.
- Strengthening the Immigration Services Inspectorate by ensuring they have enough and capable staff.
- Improving the fight against forgery and corruption and remove corrupt officials in Home Affairs.
The government is also planning to meet with officials from the countries where most of the migrants come from to find solutions to the problem.
Bongo said it is important for South Africa’s immigration laws and regulations to be effectively implemented to weed out the problem of illegal immigrants.