Mashaba sticks to his guns about illegal immigrants

13 December 2016 - 17:15 By Neo Goba

City of Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba has stuck to his guns and has said he has no regrets about the statement he made that illegal immigrants should vacate the country’s economic hub.

Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba and City of Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba on 13 December 2016.
Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba and City of Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba on 13 December 2016.
Image: Neo Goba

"We cannot tolerate a situation in our city where there is a breakdown of the rule of law [and] that's why we need to reclaim the City back for our people. How can I regret for asking for national government intervention to ensure that we have the rule of law that I'm asking the national community that the City of Johannesburg is open for business? But however‚ I'm asking anyone wanting to come to South Africa‚ please ensure that you come into our country legally‚" said Mashaba.

He was speaking at a media briefing at the Department of Home Affairs head offices in Pretoria on Tuesday‚ flanked by Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba and Director General Mkuseli Apleni.

"The City of Johannesburg is sitting with challenges of high unemployment‚ deplorable living conditions of our people and high crime rate. The numbers are staggering and the numbers are increasing on a daily basis and until such time that we can intervene‚ this situation will one day get out of control where as a City‚ will be a failed state‚" said Mashaba.

According to the mayor‚ there about 115‚000 illegal immigrants living in the inner city of Johannesburg.

The mayor said the City needed intervention from national government as it was beyond their control.

"In the city of Johannesburg‚ it's not a question of just illegal immigrants causing problems‚ even South Africans who are criminals also contribute to this. What compounds and what makes it difficult for the city is because of the number of people who are undocumented that make it difficult for our law enforcement agencies and that’s why we need national government to assist us in this regard‚" said Mashaba.

Gigaba also echoed the mayor’s comments‚ saying that this was a national issue.

"The issues facing Johannesburg are not their issues alone‚ these are challenges which are being faced by various other cities in the country. South Africa is country of mixed migration flows and [therefore] we attract immigrants because of the strength of our economy‚ political democracy and because of the stability of the country‚" said Gigaba.

However‚ Gigaba said it was not all immigrants that were in the country for the wrong reasons‚ saying that documented immigrants contributed a lot to the country' economy.

"The overwhelming number of immigrants coming into South Africa‚ are documented‚ they are making a positive contribution to the South African economy and provide critical skills.

The minister‚ mayor and other government stakeholders. will have a follow up meeting early next year at which they will look at "specific problems and challenges" that the City of Joburg is facing.