'Foreign nationals in SA should be properly documented'

President Jacob Zuma said foreigners are welcome in SA, but illegal immigrants won't be tolerated.

FILE: Illegal immigrants wait to be served at the Lindela Repatriation Centre in Krugersdorp, West of Johannesburg. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

CAPE TOWN - President Jacob Zuma said while foreign nationals are welcome in South Africa, they must be properly documented and that illegal immigrants won't be tolerated.

Answering questions in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on Thursday, Zuma also shrugged off comments by his son Edward, who was widely reported last month to have warned that South Africa was sitting on a time bomb as foreigners were "taking over the country".

The Economic Freedom Fighters' newest Member of Parliament (MP) Nkagisang Mokgosi told Zuma he should apologise.

"As a leader who protected those who made those inflammatory remarks, when are you going to take personal responsibility for the violence that has ensued?"

Zuma suggested she take the matter up directly with his son.

"It is not me who made a statement, it's Edward and if you want a response, let him respond."

He was asked about 'Operation Fiela-Reclaim', targeting immigrants at a time when many refugee centres had closed their doors.

He's insisted the police and military are targeting crime.

But the operation, which saw the raid of the Central Methodist Church in Johannesburg and attempted deportation of people arrested in the raid, has come under sharp criticism from NGOs, which say government is being xenophobic.

Concerns that the police and military operation is being used to arrest and deport immigrants, without giving them time to consult lawyers have been dismissed by Cabinet saying ' Operation Fiela-Reclaim' is not targeted at foreigners.