Over 35 organisations are expected to converge at the Union Buildings in Pretoria over illegal immigrants in South Africa on Thursday.
The organisations want the government to take a bolder stance against undocumented and illegal foreign nationals. They say South Africa is facing a myriad of challenges and that foreign nationals are worsening the situation.
The organisations under the #SAMassMarch banner have expressed disappointment at the government’s failure to tackle illegal immigrants. They claim the country is dysfunctional due to governments’ poor border management which has led to an influx of illegal immigrants.
Among the organisations that will be taking part in the march is Put South Africa First. The organisation’s Faith Mabusela says they want South Africans to be considered for jobs first.
Mabusela says, “Our Immigration Act of 2003, says no one must come to the country to do any certain jobs that can be available in South Africa. We do not see a need for doctors, teachers, and artisans in South Africa because we have those that are unemployed. So those are some of the issues we want to address, the crime, hijacked buildings and our hospitals and clinics are overcrowded because of illegal immigrants finding that South Africans now must be sleeping in benches because foreigners have been given priority, and they don’t even pay for these services.”
Illegal migration challenges in South Africa before the ConCourt
Voice It in Action, an NGO fighting GBV, says illegal immigrants are contributing to the high levels of crime.
“Illegal migration is a problem. Women and children are being abducted; we do not know what is happening to them. We are forgetting that it is another aspect of GBV. The reason we exist is that we lost a friend who was murdered, she was abducted. In her case to this day, there are no perpetrators, it means one thing, they are fingerless which means they don’t have an ID or are illegal. With the influx of illegal immigrants, where does the buck lie? It tells us it’s that side.”
The organisations say they have been marching to various government departments including Labour, Home Affairs as well as the Human Rights Commission without success. They are now pinning their hopes on the Office of the Presidency.
Community Organisation for Transformation and Implementation (COTI) Joseph Moremedi says, “The businesses that are run by some of these foreign nationals are not registered. The government does not pursue them, and they even open churches. In town here they just park anywhere and open a business.”
The organisation says they are expecting 5 000 people to join the march on Thursday.
Briefing on measures to curb illegal immigration activities at O.R Tambo