Home Affairs hits back at Mashaba over xenophobia barb

28 February 2017 - 12:41 By Shenaaz Jamal
Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba will have to pass the city's budget.
Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba will have to pass the city's budget.

The Department of Home Affairs hit back at Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba on Tuesday over his criticism of its attitude to xenophobia‚ saying the mayor had not responded to requests for his input on amendments to migration bills under consideration in parliament.

The department said he should not use the lives of people as a public relations exercise.

The spat comes as the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs deliberates on the Refugees Amendment Bill and the consideration and approval of amendments to the Border Management Authority Bill.

Mashaba accused the department of not addressing the underlying cause of xenophobia.

  • Target drug dealers‚ not innocent foreign nationals‚ pleads Jeppestown businessman“We are human‚ just like you. We are not evil. If you want drug dealers‚ go after drug dealers and not those of us who are making an honest living.” 

The department said it had met Mashaba and "asked him to pull back" during the process of amending the bills. “We invited him to make submissions on the bills but we haven’t heard from his office. If he wants to defuse the situation he should be championing these [bills]‚” said Department of Home Affairs spokesperson Mayihlome Tshwete.

Mashaba's office released a statement on Monday accusing the minister of home affairs of not doing enough to curb migration and issues around xenophobia.

“Acts of xenophobia are [a] long-standing and deep-rooted problem which national government has only sought to pay lip-service to rather than admitting to and addressing its underlying cause‚” Mashaba's statement said.

“My door remains open to interactions with the minister‚ and national government as a whole‚ towards finding a solution to xenophobic attacks and issues relating to migration within communities‚” Mashaba said.

  • Herman Mashaba comes up with plan of action in bid to stem tide of xenophobiaCity of Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba on Friday expressed deep concern at the flare up of xenophobic violence in parts of Gauteng‚ most recently seen in Tshwane this morning. 

Tshwete criticised a claim by Mashaba that the department had refused to meet the City of Johannesburg over xenophobia.

“We can't be meeting the mayor every two weeks." A technical team was working on the matter and the department's director-general of migration had been made available to help with anything the needed‚ Tshwete said.

"What the mayor is trying to do is shift attention from his Afro-phobic utterances‚” said Tshwete.