High number of undocumented immigrants 'untenable' - committee on Home Affairs

It is "untenable" that South Africa can have large numbers of undocumented immigrants, chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs Bongani Bongo said.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Bongo called for full implementation of South Africa's immigration laws and regulations to ensure that everyone within South Africa's borders are documented, said Bongo.

He said the information that is gathered through documentation is essential for other government departments and non-governmental organisations to plan their work effectively.

He said the committee will strengthen its oversight on various aspects of the department's work, especially around immigration.

He said they intend to strengthen the department's work, as the National Development Plan is clear on the advantages of legal and developmental migration.

"The committee is clear that immigration should be legal and it wants the department to strengthen procedures for processing immigrants' applications. It is untenable that a country can have large numbers of undocumented immigrants and nothing is done about it," Bongo said.

There will be a three-pronged approach.

Firstly, the committee believes that completing the legislative-making process of the Border Management Authority is necessary to safeguard South Africa's borders. A seamless process in and out of the country is but one pillar in curbing illegal immigration.

Secondly, ensuring staff capacity at the Immigration Services Inspectorate should be a priority, as it is currently understaffed.

"But enforcement must be preceded by properly working application systems that are not prone to inordinate delays," Bongo emphasised.

Thirdly, the fight against forgery and corruption must be strengthened, by weeding out corrupt elements within Home Affairs. Accepting bribes to circumvent the system will not be tolerated.

In the last week of August, the committee will have an oversight visit to Gauteng, where it will engage with the Department of Home Affairs and other stakeholders in an attempt to resolve some of the challenges around documenting foreigners.   

"The committee condemns in the strongest terms the attack on law enforcement officials in the City of Johannesburg. Police have an important role to play in securing the safety of all and must not be subjected to such attacks," the statement reads.

Bongo said the committee also plans to engage with the Portfolio Committee of Small Business Development to ensure that regulations around small business trading are strengthened.

GET THE NEWS at your fingertips and download the News24 app for Android here now. Get it for your iPhone here.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Eskom has considered continuous load shedding at Stage 2, instead of introducing it when the power system faces a crunch. What are your thoughts?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
I'm all for it - we're going to have power cuts regardless, so we might as well have some stability to better plan our lives
45% - 4154 votes
No thanks! I prefer having periods of no load shedding and we cannot normalise this crisis
55% - 5018 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.