DEPUTY Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba yesterday came close to echoing Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana's statement that farmers who employ illegal immigrants fanned xenophobic attacks.
Condemning the recent attacks on mostly Zimbabweans in De Doorns in Western Cape during a press briefing in Pretoria, Gigaba said some farmers contravened immigration laws and the Basic Conditions of Employment Act by employing and exploiting illegal immigrants.
Gigaba said farmers, especially those along the country's borders, exploited the undocumented immigrants and paid them with bags of mealie meal or refused to pay them and reported them to immigration officials once they demanded pay.
"Employing illegal immigrants because their rights are not protected makes them vulnerable to exploitation and undermines the locals' rights to employment. Allowing immigrant workers to join unions would ensure their rights are protected," he said.
He said Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma would meet Cosatu to discuss the process of protecting the rights of immigrants.
"Corrupt officials also play a role in the contravention of immigration laws. We have identified the culprits and we will be busting them soon," he said.
According to Gigaba, 60percent of asylum seekers were economic migrants.
Meanwhile, People Against Suffering, Suppression, Oppression and Poverty has accused the Western Cape government of being more concerned about the media than the wellbeing of the De Doorns xenophobia victims.
"The provincial government is concerned only for some miraculous reintegration in order to avoid further embarrassment," the organisation said.