The ANC can no longer keep quiet on the issues of immigration and hope they will just go away, according to Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoeledi, who referred to immigration challenges as an elephant in the room that the ruling party must discuss ahead of its policy conference in June.
Speaking as a national executive committee deployee to the ANC Chris Hani regional conference at the weekend, Motsoaledi said the issue of African foreigners who came to live and work in South Africa is now a big issue that requires the ruling party's urgent attention.
“It is not going to go away and we must not be scared or embarrassed to mention the truth. I’m in Home Affairs and I know what I’m talking about,” he said.
Motsoaledi said South Africans are afraid of dealing with the issue of immigrants because whenever they try to do something, they are labelled as xenophobic. “Something is going wrong on our continent and South Africa is on the receiving end.
“When you talk, they take a big word and throw it at you, and South Africa blinks and runs away,” said Motsoaledi, warning South Africans to be careful about trading their identities for money.
The minister detailed how a sting operation by his department resulted in the arrest of two Pakistani kingpins in Krugersdorp and Cape Town International Airport, respectively, a week ago.
Both individuals and their accomplices were arrested for allegations related to issuing of passport documents fraudulently.
Home Affairs has also arrested its own officials and Motsoaledi has promised that more are yet to be arrested for collaborating with foreigners in defrauding the country’s population register and selling the country to foreigners who have the money and means to pay government employees and recruit ordinary citizens to sell their birth rights.
“We can’t keep quiet forever, comrades, for the fear of the word xenophobia. This must change comrades, we can no longer allow our country to be a stomping ground for all the rascals and the lawless of the world,” the minister said.
However, a few months ago, Opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader, Julius Malema, said he would continue to stand with Zimbabweans in South Africa even if it means losing votes and leadership of the party.
In an address he made a month before last Christmas, Malema said he and his party were prepared to stand with all Africans in South Africa who left their countries due to economic hardship.
Malema boldly said he would not allow any policy that sends Zimbabweans and other foreigners in South Africa back home.
“EFF can commission internal research to see to what extent this thing is hurting the EFF. But I’m not prepared to take a platform and say foreigners must go home. I would rather not be the president of South Africa. I will be the president of my children. To say I must go and tell these hungry Zimbabweans to leave here and when I tell them to leave I send them to where?” Malema said. – Work in South Africa