Following Mashaba’s insistence to flush out all illegal immigrants from the city of Johannesburg, SA home Affairs boss, Malusi Gigaba says it plans to dish out more stringent rules that will help evacuate all illegal immigrants not just from the city alone, but from the country at large.
Speaking on Tuesday, the Home Affairs Minister Gigaba said South Africa may join other countries in the world to impose visa restrictions on South African passport holders.
The minister made this announcement while revealing that SA has withdrawn the visa exemption for New Zealand passport holders in response to its withdrawal of visa-free travel arrangements for South Africans.
He said the department is looking at increasing the visa and travel permit fee to align with inflation.
“We have further noted that in recent times, a number of countries have imposed visa restrictions on South African passport holders. And in the past, we have not reciprocated due to reasons including tourism considerations particularly in the light of the new immigration regulations that we are implementing,” Malusi Gigaba said.
South Africa’s visa fees are some of the lowest in the world and for the past 14 years had remained at R425 for most of the visa categories and R1,520 for permits and work, business and corporate visas.
The country maintained its visa fee so it would not impose undue restrictions on citizens of other countries planning to travel to SA. But, this is now necessary as the number of illegal immigrants has continued to rise.
“It is not our policy to deter foreign visitors or to reduce the flow of tourists, business people and other travelers to our country,” Gigaba said.
Gigaba’s decision comes after the major of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba announced his administration’s decision to wipe out all illegal immigrants from the city.
Mashaba also claimed that high rate of illegal immigrants hampers the growth and development of his city said all immigrants who failed to follow due process before entering the city are criminals who should be treated as so.
“We cannot tolerate a situation in our city where there is a breakdown of the rule of law [and] that’s why we need to reclaim the City back for our people. How can I regret for asking for national government intervention to ensure that we have the rule of law that I’m asking the national community that the City of Johannesburg is open for business? But however‚ I’m asking anyone wanting to come to South Africa‚ please ensure that you come into our country legally‚” said Mashaba.
Meanwhile, Home Affairs minister, Malusi Gigaba said there are two different types of illegal immigrants living in South Africa – those who want to contribute to the economy and those who have malicious intentions.
He commended immigrants who used legal documents to enter the country‚ saying that this ensured that they were just as safe as South Africans and also contributed to the diversity and social cohesion of the country. But like Mashaba, he ordered all illegal immigrants to stay clear of South Africa.