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'Stopping migration is like stopping the sun from rising,' says Gauteng premier David Makhura

22 June 2022 - 12:00
Gauteng premier David Makhura. File photo.
Gauteng premier David Makhura. File photo.
Image: Moeletsi Mabe

Gauteng premier David Makhura says the rise in the number of local and international migrants in the province has increased demands and competition for access to opportunities, including jobs. 

Makhura was responding to questions on the pressures of migration on Gauteng this week.

He said more than 47% of migrants in SA, local and international, ended up making Gauteng their home.

“Migration is among the top seven global issues facing the world today, including SA.

“Forty-seven-percent of all local and international migrants end up in Gauteng. Almost half of all migrants who come into SA, wherever they are coming from. The rest end up settling as well. Even internal migrants, in other words, more than 50% of people who move from rural areas to cities, come to Gauteng.”

Makhura said migration remains a headache for the provincial government and trying to stop it was “like stopping the sun from rising and setting”.

He acknowledged some migrants bring vibrant businesses that employ people. 

“We must accept that migration increases demands and competition for access to jobs, economic opportunities, basic services, housing, infrastructure. The demand increases when you have migration, but migration also brings opportunities. 

“Those who come often are entrepreneurial, some established businesses, vibrant businesses that employ people. Others bring skills in our economy, that's why it is a losing battle. Anyone who thinks they can stop migration in any part of the world is like stopping the sun from rising and setting. The issue is the management of migration.”

Earlier this week, employment and labour minister Thulas Nxesi said his department was finalising a policy to help regulate the extent to which foreign nationals could be employed in SA. 

Nxesi was responding to the blocking of roads by truck drivers on the N3 after drivers complained about jobs being taken by legal and illegal foreign workers.

The drivers complained they were being overlooked by shipment companies in favour of foreign drivers. 

Nxesi said the government was committed to addressing the issues in a way that ensured the long-term viability of interventions, some of which would require a “longer runway”, owing to legislative changes.

One of the key ways that government planned to address this was through the proposed national labour migration policy (NLMP). 

The policy, among other things, aims to achieve a balance across several areas, including addressing South Africans’ expectations regarding access to jobs, given worsening unemployment and the perception that foreigners are distorting labour market access.

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