International relations and co-operation minister Naledi Pandor told Newzroom Africa that economic migrants were not a risk to SA’s security.
She said the security risk was the poor management of immigration.
Pandor condemned the xenophobic-accused group Operation Dudula, saying it was casting SA in a poor light.
The group is said to be anti-foreigner and has been demanding illegal foreign nationals leave the country.
“My impression as I see it [Operation Dudula] is that the target is black people. I haven’t seen the target looking at other migrants and it tends to be the poorest black Africans who are a target. This illustrates a discrimination that is most unfortunate,” said Pandor.
On Monday, home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi defended job quotas for foreign nationals, saying the proposed law aims to equalise foreign-owned companies and locally-owned businesses.
He told Newzroom Afrika 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 employment laws cannot protect them.
TimesLIVE conducted a poll asking readers if they agreed with job quotas for foreign nationals.
Nearly half (41%) of the voters said they agree because it will ensure jobs for locals and protect foreigners employed in SA, 38% said it will discriminate and spark anti-immigrant sentiment, and 22% said they will wait until the law is finalised and see what it says.