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‘These laws will protect everyone equally’ — Motsoaledi defends job quotas for foreign nationals

22 February 2022 - 11:00
Home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi says the proposed law for job quotas for foreign nationals was not fuelling anti-immigrant sentiment. File image.
Home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi says the proposed law for job quotas for foreign nationals was not fuelling anti-immigrant sentiment. File image.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

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Home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi has defended job quotas for foreign nationals, saying there is nothing wrong with employing people from other countries.

This comes after politicians expressed different opinions about a law proposed by government as it grapples with high unemployment and a resurgence in anti-migrant sentiment.

Government plans to introduce a law governing job quotas for foreign nationals. The law will indicate the number of foreigners businesses owned by locals are permitted to hire.

Motsoaledi told Newzroom Afrika the proposed law aims to equalise foreign-owned companies and locally-owned businesses.

He said it was not fuelling anti-immigrant sentiment.

“Absolutely not,” said Motsoaledi.

“These laws will protect everyone equally, whether you are a foreign national or not.”

He said hiring illegal immigrants remains illegal and the employment laws of the country cannot protect them.

Speaking on 702, Motsoaledi said the proposed law governing job quotas for foreign nations has been in the making for several years.

He said the critical skills list was not published in 2018 as the law requires because of consultations.

“The minister of home affairs is supposed to publish a list of critical skills and that list is reviewed every four years. The last time the critical skills list was published was 2014,” he said.

The list was gazetted on February 2 and transitional mechanisms have been outlined.

“The law allows for the employment of people from other countries but the problem is when companies employ an illegal person to exploit them,” he said.

Several politicians, including ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba and his party's latest recruit Athol Trollip, said government should prioritise South Africans before discussing quotas for foreign nationals.

“We can’t discuss quotas for foreign nationals when 13-million South Africans are unemployed. Attract rare skills, not jobs South Africans are capable of doing. We rely on you to protect our country’s sovereignty,” said Mashaba.

“We need to grow our economy by attracting investment. That’s what creates jobs. As our economy grows we will need scarce skills that go where economic growth and opportunities occur. Everyone who works in the formal sector should be documented and pay tax,” said Trollip.


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