Processes underway to reintegrate displaced foreign nationals

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula says processes are underway to re-integrate those foreign nationals who took refuge at police stations and community halls following sporadic incidents of violence across Gauteng.

She said this when Ministers in the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster briefed journalists on the interventions and progress made to address the violent incidences that the country has witnessed over the past few days.

“Hundreds of foreign nationals took refuge at police stations after coming under attack. Seven hundred and fifty five such persons are currently housed for safety at DH Williams and Tsholo Community Centres in Katlehong. The number are made up of 527 adults and 228 children.

“Processes are underway of offering humanitarian assistance as well as to reintegrate them back into the communities,” she said at the briefing in Cape Town, on Tuesday.

The Minister said that while there has been a significant decline in the number of incidents, police forces remain on high alert and are closely monitoring all hotspots to ensure that further violence does not erupt.

Addressing journalists, Mapisa-Nqakula called on both South Africans and foreign nationals to respect the rule of law, whether they are documented or not.

“We [are] appealing to all South Africans to abide by the rules of the country. We also appeal to foreign nationals themselves, whether documented or undocumented, to observe the rules of the country and that if you come into South Africa for business, that you apply for a business permit because I think these are part of the things that have come out this week so it is important to appeal to our people to understand that there will be no tolerance for lawlessness.

“The Minister of Police did relate to the statement that there will be more visibility of police, more than what you see now, and police being visible will mean an attempt to deter lawlessness. We believe that there are elements of criminals taking advantage of the concerns of ordinary South Africans,” she said. 

Giving an update on the progress of the work that has been done to deal with the challenge of undocumented foreign nationals, the Minister said that in the first six months of 2019, the Department of Home Affairs had deported more than 10 000 undocumented foreign nationals who were in the country illegally.

She said deportations happened regularly once prescribed legal processes have taken place.

“In the same period we have charged 1048 employers for breaching immigration laws and more than half of these (524) were in Gauteng.

“With regards to hiring of undocumented foreign nationals, we will clamp down on private business owners who do not abide by the labour and immigration laws.”

She said the Departments of Home Affairs, Police and Labour will intensify inspections.

The Department of Home Affairs was preparing to implement the pilot phase of the Border Management Authority shortly after the Bill has been finalised through Parliamentary processes.

The Border Management Authority is expected to improve the security of the country’s borderline and facilitate the easier movement of people and goods through the ports of entry.

The Border Management Authority Bill seeks to, among other things, give South Africa a new policy paradigm of integrated border management with an aim of facilitating legal and secure movement of people and goods across SA borders.

Once passed into law, the Authority will close the chapter on the issue of porous borders bedevilling the country over the years, and will tackle corruption at ports of entry.

The Authority will also help in preventing drug-related crimes, human trafficking, illegitimate movement of goods and unauthorised movement of persons

“The South African government will continue to contribute to the promotion and maintenance of peace and security in Africa; we will increase our participation in conflict resolution, peace-making and peace building at regional and continental levels.

“As a government we are willing endorse mechanisms which resolve regional and resolve continental conflict.” –