WATCH | Spaza shops need to be audited and pay tax: Motsoaledi on new immigration proposals

Anthony Molyneaux Lead video journalist

Home affairs minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi says the cabinet has approved the Final White Paper On Citizenship, Immigration and Refugee Protection.

In terms of the white paper, all spaza shops need to be audited and register to pay tax.

“We want spaza shops audited. We want the owners to come forward and the spaza shop to be registered. And when you register we want documentation. If you don't have documentation, we will obviously have the spaza shop closed. If, on the other hand, you have the right to be in South Africa, all that is left is for you to register with the South African Revenue Service and start paying tax on that spaza shop.

“Then the department of health will have to make standards: You cannot sell food in this spaza shop and sleep there and cook there and eat there and wash inside there and hold prayer or Sunday services in there. That will have to be abolished,” he said.

The white paper is also aimed at cracking down on people seeking to reside in South Africa under false pretences. 

“Pan-Africanism does not promote illegality or illegal entry,” said Motsoaledi during a press briefing on Wednesday. “The refugee laws in most AU countries based on the 1969 convention are more stringent than the Refugee Act in South Africa. That needs to change.”

South Africa deports 15,000-20,000 foreigners every year and that number is growing at a huge cost to the country.

“When it comes to the issue of illegal foreigners, South Africa is today a great place to live and many people in the world aspire to live, work or be citizens of South Africa ... many foreign nationals come to South Africa and stay in the country illegally,” Motsoaledi said.

“The department of home affairs has no idea as to how many illegal immigrants are in South Africa. The establishment of the Border Management Authority, or BMA, should significantly reduce the risk of illegal foreigners entering the country illegally.

“When somebody comes into South Africa demanding refugee status, they visit one of the five refugee reception centres, and the person who listens to their story is called an RSDO or refugee status determination officer.

“Almost every case adjudicated and finalised by a refugee status determination officer is going on appeal. Nobody accepts the final determination by the refugee status determination officer. There's always an appeal which leads to backlogs. This also needs to change.”

Regarding asylum seekers, Motsoaledi proposed a “first safe country principle” which will apply to people fleeing war, famine or any threat.

“The first safe country principle must be strictly applied. If you enter the first country [after you leave your home country], in other words, the first country where the issues that you need to run from in your country are not there, you need to apply for asylum there. Why do people pass so many countries to apply in South Africa?”


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