African Union (AU) Commission chairperson, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is calling on all African countries to open up their borders to enable African citizens enter countries of their choice
Giving her final speech at an AU state of the continent address at the Hilton Hotel in Durban on Monday, Dlamini-Zuma said freedom of movement for all African citizens will be of great benefit to the continent as it will enhance unity among member countries.
She said free movement for Africans on the continent had been pioneered by Rwanda which had seen drastic increases in tourism and trade.
“Rwanda was the country that led this move and they opened their borders for all Africans. That kind of policy has seen them increase their tourism by 24% and trade by over 50%. Generally, the free movement of people has more advantages than disadvantages,” she said.
Dlamini-Zuma also said if people are free to move, they come in and leave, if they know they can’t come back at their will, they end up staying. “We are developing a comprehensive protocol of free movement and we are hoping it will be signed by 2018,” she added.
Dlamini’s call for an open border comes at a time the South African government is struggling to find measures to protect its borders against illegal immigrants.
We could also recall Johannesburg mayor, Herman Mashaba sticking his gun on illegal immigrants, blaming them for being behind the drawbacks in the city’s development.
“Whether you are South African or you’re someone from outside – please, when you’re in our city, please respect our laws because if not, then we’re going to have a challenge,” Mahaba reiterated his decision to expose and send out all illegal immigrants.
Meanwhile, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma also expressed her excitement over how democracy is taking off on the continent. She acknowledged the current political crisis in Gambia, where President Yahya Jammeh is refusing to relinquish power.
Zuma said democracy needs to change people’s lives on the continent.
“It’s an issue being dealt with on a whole. Democracy is taking root on the continent. Democracy for the sake is not useful, it needs to translate into our people’s lives for their freedom.”
In the interim, the AU would promote the use of a 30-day visa offered by African states to Africans and Dlamini Zu
“Hopefully more and more countries will open their borders,” she added