He told a media conference in Johannesburg yesterday while reporting on his 100 days into office that these illegal immigrants got here criminally and should be treated as such.
Mashaba said he would rope in human rights lawyers to assist him and that he had spoken to respective embassies, who agreed to help with the process. "You see, for me, when I call these criminals criminals, I want them to understand that they are criminals," Mashaba said.
"They are holding our country to ransom and I am going to be the last South African to allow it."
Mashaba said he knew he had constraints as local government because the national government had opened borders to criminals, but the DA would change all that when it takes over national government in 2019.
"But in the meantime I have already started engaging embassies in our country for them to know their residents in our city are here criminally.
"We will engage the provincial and national government to help us in this regard but I don't believe anyone can expect us to tolerate activities of criminality." He claimed that under the ANC's watch, criminals (foreigners) were allowed to come into SA without proper papers but that cannot happen under the DA's watch.
Zulu king Goodwill Zwelithini was taken to the SA Human Rights Commission for similar comments after he had accused the government of failing to protect locals from the "influx of foreign nationals".
But the Human Rights Commission found him not guilty of hate speech. At the time the DA attacked the king, saying his comments were highly irresponsible.
Yesterday, DA leader in Gauteng John Moodey refused to comment on Mashaba's remarks on foreigners, saying he had not heard the comments.
In October, Mashaba called for the strengthening of borders, saying SA needed to be protected from illegal immigrants.
In the same breath he outlined his future plans for the city.
He told journalists his first order of business in cleaning up the city included what Mashaba described as taking back the inner city from illegal dwellers and slumlords.
"The private sector can easily pour R20-billion each year into our inner city and turn it into a construction site within a matter of months," he said.
"We need to create quality low-cost housing for our people and rental space for small business and entrepreneurs to flourish."