SA spends R42m to fly undocumented migrants home in just over a year - Parliament hears

Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi. (Ntswe Mokoena)
Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi. (Ntswe Mokoena)

Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi confirmed that R8 956 713.41 has been spent on charter flights and/or airlines by his department to deport undocumented migrants for the period April 1 to August 31 this year.

The minister made the revelations in a parliamentary reply to a question asked by DA MP Joseph McGluwa.

McGluwa asked Motsoaledi about the details of the charter flights and airlines as well as the total amount paid in respect of the deportations in both the 2018/19 financial year and since the start of April this year.

For the 2018 to 2019 financial year, R33 070 629.90 was spent on flights for the deportation of undocumented migrants.

ANALYSIS: The foreign invasion? How the anti-immigrant backlash makes us all unsafe

On October 3, President Cyril Ramaphosa hosted Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari for an official state visit, which followed a number of violent attacks against foreign nationals in parts of the country last month. 

At least 12 people were killed and hundreds of Nigerians were repatriated.

In a newsletter published on Monday morning, Ramaphosa said: "The recent public violence targeting foreign nationals has challenged our efforts to build stronger ties with other African countries. Fuelled by misinformation spread on social media, these attacks provoked much anger in different parts of the continent leading to threats against South African businesses and diplomatic missions." 

ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule, speaking on behalf of the party, said at the time of the incidents of public violence that while migration was a global phenomenon, action should be taken against undocumented foreigners and those who committed crime in South Africa should be deported, News24 reported.

"We must deal with undocumented foreigners. They must be documented and those who continue doing acts of crime, things not meant to be done in a country they don't belong to, must actually be dealt with," added Magashule.

DA MP Adrian Roos asked Motsoaledi whether he would engage with the executive mayors of metropolitan municipalities to conduct raids to combat illegal immigration.

To this, the minister replied that he "… has engaged with municipal structures on matters of migration and will do so on a continuous basis".

"Joint and special operations to combat illegal migration are planned and conducted by law enforcement agencies at national, provincial and local level through inter-governmental security structures. All metro municipalities are represented in local security, provincial and national structures such as the provincial joint operational structures and the national structure," Motsoaledi added.

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