ActionSA president Herman Mashaba says he condemns xenophobia but will work to deal with illegal immigrants should he again take over as mayor of Johannesburg.
Mashaba has in the past been slammed for his comments against foreign nationals, with many branding him a xenophobe. His remarks were mostly made while he was mayor from 2016 under the DA.
“I personally condemn all forms of xenophobia. Foreigners are welcome in SA and immigration continues to add richness to our society. No-one should be discriminated against based on their country of birth or origin,” Mashaba said on Wednesday.
He was speaking at an event in the inner city of Johannesburg where his party was outlining its plans to revitalise inner cities.
The party is campaigning hard to win the highly contested cities of Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni.
“I will not shy away from challenging unlawful immigration which brings challenges to the management of our cities and the availability of our limited resources,” said Mashaba.
He said the point of departure for his party on immigration was the rule of law and they believed SA will only progress if the law is upheld without fear or favour.
“We need effective laws that are for the good of society at large. We need law enforcement that prosecutes those who break our laws. We need a functional justice system that adjudicates over criminal cases. In the same vein, we need an immigration system that prohibits people from entering and staying in our country without proper authorisation.
“We have laws and policies in place to prevent people entering our country or staying here illegally. But those laws and policies are simply not enforced. It is unclear how many foreign nationals are present in SA without due authorisation, which is a problem in its own right,” said Mashaba.
He said the current immigration regime of the country added to the problems faced by local government to deliver effective service delivery.
Mashaba said this was because service delivery could not be effective if municipalities did not know how many residents they were serving.
“Municipal grants and funding from national government relies largely on population estimates which would not include the number of undocumented foreign nationals.”
He said undocumented nationals were excluded from accessing public services due to not having documentation, and were excluded from formal jobs and property ownership for the same reason.
“The enemy is not foreign nationals. The enemy is our government and its poor attempts at immigration control.”
TimesLIVE (TMG Digital)