Army patrols‚ fences and ‘tolerance’ quota for immigrants

Government is reviewing South Africa’s migration policy in a bid to deal with the strain between locals and foreign nationals that flared up into xenophobic violence.

Jeff Radebe‚ chairperson of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) set up to look at migration‚ said this when briefing Parliament’s Ad Hoc Committee on Violence against Foreign Nationals today (Tuesday)‚ according to a report on the government’s website.

He said a heavy influx of foreign nationals has led to migration laws not being adhered to due to border management laxity and the visa waiver to Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries‚ among others‚ which has led to foreign nationals staying in the country longer than they should be. This‚ coupled with other causes like socio-economic conditions and unfair business practices‚ has necessitated the involvement of the IMC.

“The Department of Home Affairs is reviewing South Africa’s migration policy and intends tabling a green paper in the Forum of South African Directors-General during the third quarter of the current financial year. Cabinet has also approved the Refugee Amendment Bill in September 2015 for tabling in Parliament‚” he said.

The Minister said the review of the country’s migration policy was one of several interventions through which government was responding to underlying root causes and tensions that led to attacks on foreign nationals in April 2015 in various parts of the country.

Other interventions would include:

- Controlling the inflow of migrants by setting a tolerance threshold or a quota system.

- Addressing the asylum seekers’ backlog through the immediate funding and capacitating of the Standing Committee on Refugee Affairs and Refugee Appeals Board;

- Restricting the movement of asylum applicants to a single magisterial district through the setting up of decentralised refugee reception centres at ports of entry; and

- Funding of Immigration Services to revamp ports of entry.

To improve border management‚ Radebe said government will:

- Fund‚ capacitate and deploy South African National Defence Force companies to the borderline.

- Expedite the construction of border fences and the establishment of patrol roads.

- Mobilise communities in borderline security management

- Eradicate corruption and illegal activities at ports of entry and the borderline.

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