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Govt defends new visa laws at public debate

Home Affairs Dept maintains the strict new immigration laws are to ensure security in the country.

FILE: Deputy Home Affairs Minister maintains the strict new immigration laws are to ensure security in the country. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Home Affairs Department said South Africa has had a liberal visa system which has been vulnerable to abuse.

Deputy Home Affairs Minister Fatima Chohan was speaking at a public debate that focused on xenophobia and challenges with the country's migration policy.

President of the Skilled Foreign Nationals in South Africa, Steve Arowolo, opened the debate by saying foreigners can positively contribute to South Africa's economy.

Chohan addressed the much criticised new immigration rules, saying South Africa hasn't changed its migration laws in 15 years.

"South Africa has had a very liberal visa system and it was significantly abused."

Premier Helen Zille replied the new visa regulation laws are contradictory.

"They create a context which is harder to be legal and so the great temptation is to be illegal."

Chohan maintained the strict new laws are to ensure security in the country.