In a bid to deal with the influx of illegal immigrants in the city of Johannesburg‚ officials have conducted seven raids in various properties since the start of the year‚ mayor Herman Mashaba said last Friday.
“To date 230 undocumented migrants have been repatriated in line with the applicable legislative framework‚” said Mashaba‚ saying these were joint efforts between the city and Home Affairs.
In a statement‚ Mashaba said he had on last Thursday hosted a delegation from the Department of Home Affairs led by director-general Mkuseli Apleni.
“This was a very successful and productive engagement. It provided the city with an opportunity to air its grievances with the manner in which the department has historically engaged the city on the issue of illegal immigration‚” he said. Among the challenges Mashaba highlighted was that the ministry of Home Affairs had been plagued by “instability over the past two years‚ with four changes to the position of minister over this period”
He also lambasted national government for what he claimed was its failure to ensure that people entering the country were processed and timeously provided with relevant documentation‚ labelling it as a failure of political leadership and an unwillingness to deal with uncomfortable issues.
“I believe that the ministry had engaged us in bad faith over this period‚ however‚ I am willing to work with committed public servants in Home Affairs going forward‚ provided such engagements are at all times in good faith‚” said Mashaba.
He said both he and the department had agreed that illegal immigration in Johannesburg had reached “crisis level”.
“To address this challenge it is essential that we adopt a whole-of-society approach‚ at different levels of government and in partnership with civil society‚” he said.
Mashabana welcomed legal foreign nationals into the city and called for the rights of legitimate refugees and asylum seekers to be respected.
“All I have asked is that those who wish to enter our country do so lawfully‚ and while they are here‚ they respect our laws‚” he said.