Intl migration must be managed - deputy minister

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Johannesburg - Deputy Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba on Thursday emphasised the importance of properly managing the international migration of people into the country.

Speaking at the Independent Development Trust's (IDT) annual community dialogue for social cohesion in Johannesburg on Thursday, Mr Gigaba said South Africa faced an increased trend of international migration which should be managed rather than combated.

"Like other countries everywhere in the world, South Africa faces an increased phenomenon of international migration, facing a rising inflow and outflow of migrants.

"International migration must be managed rather than combated and must be viewed as a development potential, rather than a nuisance.

"Migration is vital for South Africa's economic development, her integration into Africa and for the enhancement of her cultural and national diversity," he said.

In managing migration, Mr Gigaba said, there must be a balance between the economic and security imperatives of the country and its neighbours.

"Our view is that immigrants contribute to economic development, promote and deepen African and human solidarity and enhance our humanity.

"Properly managed, immigration will positively contribute to South Africa's development, reduce security challenges, including those caused by cross-border crimes, and eliminate stereotypes and negative attitudes towards immigrants and immigration," he said.

He said international migration tends to favour those with high levels of skills and investment capital who are able to move easily, with better information and through safe routes and modes of transport.

However, Mr Gigaba said the same is sadly not true for working class migrants as most of them have no security, live at risk and are often victims of xenophobia.

In order to reap the full benefits of international migration, he said public policy must be reformed to emphasise the positive link between migration, development and public security.

According to the Deputy Minister, a successful migration policy depends on a persistent and sustainable African agenda for peace, democracy and development which are vital to address the root causes of migration and forced displacements.

"This alone will not diminish migration, but it will assist to diminish, to a great degree, irregular and undocumented migration," he said.

Organised by the IDT, in partnership with the Gauteng Department of Provincial and Local Government, the dialogue aims to facilitate a platform for government, civic structures and foreign nations to promote peace and tolerance.