CAPE TOWN: South Africa has deported thousands of illegal immigrants in recent months following a new spate of xenophobic attacks, the country’s parliament said.
The parliament revealed the information after a meeting was convened by the Portfolio Committees on Home Affairs and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to look at solutions to challenges around immigration in the country, particularly in the northeastern province of Gauteng.
The meeting followed the recent violent criminal attacks directed at foreigners in Ekurhuleni and Johannesburg, both in Gauteng Province, which led to the deaths of 12 people, destruction of property and the displacement and resettlement of foreign nationals.
Following the attacks, the Department of Home Affairs, in cooperation with law enforcement agencies, conducted 56 raids on illegal immigrants from July to September, said Bongani Bongo, chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs.
The raids, conducted in public places including retail stores, restaurants and hotels, led to the country deporting 11,455 undocumented foreign nationals between April and September, Bongo said.
“All this work will amount to little if the Border Management Authority (BMA) is not implemented to secure our borders,” Bongo said.
The BMA, proposed to be established in a BMA bill, is designed to oversee the management of ports of entry in the country.
The state entity is going to consolidate all the seven departments operating in the border posts and border line. It will also simplify the 58 pieces of legislation which are applicable to the management of South Africa’s borders.
The BMA bill was approved by the National Assembly, or the lower house, in 2017, and awaits approval of the National Council of Provinces, or the upper house.