All indications point towards a much needed victory for the outspoken Johannesburg mayor, Herman Mashaba in his fight against the home affairs administration whose leadership he has blamed for South Africa’s porous borders used by immigrants who for years have been flocking in their millions into the country without legal papers. Cllr Mashaba who since taking office as mayor of the golden city had been involved in endless battles with the home affairs authorities warning them against the dangers of border control officials failing to take better control of South African ports of entry abused by foreign nationals to gain illegal entry into the country.
Despite his highly unpopular standing among migrants, Cllr Mashaba has stood his ground in his fight to keep especially Johannesburg city “away from foreign invasion” while ensuring that the country remains free from drug and human trafficking.
It has been a busy three weeks for the mayor who had to call in the police to assist him in cleaning Johannesburg and eventually SA of illicit goods displaying fake labels. Violent scenes played themselves out in the Johannesburg CBD two weeks ago when shop owners attacked police about to raid local shops many owned by foreign nationals. Mayor Mashaba who could be described as the only courageous leader in the country who did not only speak out but acted against the invasion of Johannesburg by especially undocumented foreigners - many caught on the wrong side of the law. Even if you are not a member or supporter of the Democratic Alliance (DA), South Africans must give it to Johannesburg mayor, Herman Mashaba who must be patting himself on the back for vigorously bringing the attention of those running the country to “wake-up and smell the coffee” – South Africa could be heading towards a dangerous self-inflicted painful period.
Mashaba is still fighting a brave fight and indeed, his efforts are seemingly starting to bear fruits. That is why South Africa is suddenly cracking down on immigration control, enforcing tighter border controls, shifting processing centres to ports of entry and government officials are said to be starting negotiations with neighbouring countries to discuss implementation of migration policies. We believe that the efforts of Mayor Mashaba must have contributed to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs, Advocate Bongani Bongo not only welcoming the arrest of illegal immigrants during the multi-organisation raid in inner Johannesburg CBD, but we are convinced that the mayor’s struggles must have propelled the ruling ANC into action and to think hard about their policies on migration to into country. Voicing his committee’s position on immigration, Adv Bongo said, “It must remain clear that while legal and developmental immigration is encouraged and can be beneficial to the growth prospects of the country, we remain steadfast that illegal immigration must be discouraged at all times. “Migration is a reality that South Africa must accept and leverage to benefit the country’s drive for development and economic growth. Nonetheless, migration must happen within the framework of international and national law. It is this context that the committee welcomes the arrest and possible deportation of these illegal immigrants. “The committee continues to emphasise the need for the Department of Home Affairs to strengthen its application processes to remove blockages for asylum seekers and critical skills immigrants possess”, Adv Bongo said. Mayor Mashaba has been unapologetic in his call for an end to corruption in the home affairs administration which he argued was the main contributor encouraging illegal migration. His criticism of the ANC-led administration in alleged corrupt activities in this context is well known. We therefore welcome Adv Bongo’s assurance that the home affairs committee “emphasised the need to fight corruption to ensure the credibility of the department’s system and documentation”.