The following statement follows the Democratic Alliance (DA) KwaZulu-Natal Premier Candidate, Zwakele Mncwango, DA Team One SA Spokesperson on Immigration, Jacques Julius, and DA Team One KZN Spokesperson on Borders, Haniff Hoosen’s oversight inspection of the Umgeni Road Home Affairs in KwaZulu-Natal. The oversight was followed by a visit to the Refugee Camp at the Sherwood Community Hall. Please find attached a soundbite in Zulu by Zwakele Mncwango and one in English by Jacques Julius. Pictures can be downloaded here, here, here and here.
Today the Democratic Alliance (DA) conducted an oversight inspection of the Umgeni Road Home Affairs in KwaZulu-Natal, in light of the recent spate of violent xenophobic attacks which have flared up in the province. This was followed by a visit to a Refugee Camp located at the Sherwood Community Hall. We condemn the violence against foreign nationals in the strongest possible terms. This has no place in our democratic country.
We also met with the victims of brutal xenophobic attacks in KwaZulu-Natal. The DA notes with great concern that the Minister of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu, stated that the attacks are not xenophobic in nature, but only criminal. If the diagnoses of a problem is wrong, then attempts at finding a solution will fall flat.
This is a pure attempt by President Ramaphosa’s government to mislead the people of South Africa. All the people who were attacked are foreign nationals, the President and Minister Sisulu must tell the world the truth. Furthermore, they must answer as to why the ad hoc committee established to investigate incidents of xenophobia, which resulted in recommendations being made, but never implemented.
The ANC government must concede that it has failed on the issue of immigration and has no plan to protect the dignity of foreign nationals.
Following a meeting with Home Affairs officials, it became evermore clear that the anger felt by South African citizens is misdirected. It is the failing ANC government that has caused the suffering of both South African citizens and foreign nationals alike.
The fact that corruption thrives through bribes at our border posts, undermines the function and role of Home Affairs, which is tasked with manning and managing the country’s immigration system. Furthermore, it is the ANC’s failed labour inspectorates that make it possible for foreign migrants to be exploited as cheap labour, fuelling the anger of unemployed South Africans towards members of our neighboring states.
No country in the world can afford to not secure their borders as uncontrolled immigration violates the rights of citizens, and the ability of foreign nationals seeking to reside in the country legally or seek asylum status.
All these conditions result in escalated tensions between citizens and foreign nationals. The sad news is that we are all fighting each other instead of the real villain – the failing ANC government with its corruption, failed policies and record of non-implementation of steps which might have prevented the present and recurring tensions relating to acts of xenophobic violence.
The DA is the only party that has a plan to secure our borders and stop illegal immigration, which is fuelled by corruption at Home Affairs. We would assist refugees and asylum seekers. A DA government would ensure undocumented immigrants are regularised or assisted in leaving the country if they do not meet the criteria for remaining in the country, while strengthening our border posts – through effective security measures.
Furthermore, it is shocking that the Minister of Home Affairs, Siyabonga Cwele, has remained silent on these xenophobic attacks. His inaction and deafening silence is truly disappointing, when the dysfunctionality at Home Affairs is ultimately to blame for the scenario we are currently facing.
The main focus of the DA would be to eradicate the corruption and inefficiency endemic to Home Affairs, which is currently incapable of implementing any of the steps listed above. And while Home Affairs continues to fail in its mandate, it fails both the citizens of our country and the foreign nationals that live here. We need to turn to our common enemy, the failing ANC, and vote them out of government come 8 May 2019.