Mashaba, African Diaspora Forum to initiate legal action against home affairs

2017-10-31 20:58
City of Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba. (Leon Sadiki, Gallo Images, City Press)

City of Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba. (Leon Sadiki, Gallo Images, City Press)

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Johannesburg - City of Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba has welcomed African Diaspora Forum's (ADF) decision to join him in taking legal action against the Department of Home Affairs in the coming weeks.

He was speaking at a briefing on Tuesday at the South African Human Rights Commission's (SAHRC) offices where the two parties signed a settlement agreement to work together to promote social cohesion. 

Mashaba said the City would ask the court to compel the department to address the issue of illegal immigration in the City. The ADF will be joining the matter as a friend of the court. 

He also said that his reported comments on foreign nationals were sensationalised, misinterpreted and published without context, sowing confusion. 

Mashaba was quoted last year and earlier this year as having said that foreign nationals were responsible for crime in the City. 

He also allegedly said that undocumented foreign nationals compound criminal activity and make it difficult for law enforcement agencies to perform their duties, and added that they were holding the country to ransom.

Illegal immigration at 'crisis level'

Chairperson of the ADF Marc Gbaffou said that the alleged statements had created fear among foreign nationals. 

However, "two days ago, when we were sitting with the mayor, he handed over all the statements that he had made, everything he had said is different from what the media has been saying", Gbaffou said.

On Tuesday Mashaba said: "I condemn xenophobia in all its manifestations, and I will ensure that those who intend perpetuating violence against immigrants, face the full might of the law.

"At the same time, I am committed to ensuring that the rule of law is upheld in our City, and that no criminal, whether from South Africa or any other country, feels safe on our streets." 

Mashaba said that illegal immigration had reached crisis level in Johannesburg, requiring intervention from the national government. 

"Foreign nationals buy goods in our country, establish businesses and stimulate economic growth. They can also contribute their skills and experience in sectors of our economy where they are desperately needed," he said. 

Mashaba said he was concerned about the alleged occupation of hijacked buildings by undocumented foreign nationals as this affected the City's ability to make provision for services and to protect them. 

He said he was not calling for undocumented immigrants to be deported, but was asking the Department of Home Affairs to "ensure that all those who qualify for asylum or other permits are processed and provided with their papers timeously. Should they not qualify, or should they have committed crimes within our borders, then they should be sent home."

Read more on:    sahrc  |  herman mashaba

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