No mechanism of knowing how many undocumented migrants are in SA: Motsoaledi
Briefing the media on Sunday on the White Paper on Citizenship, Immigration, and Refugee Protection, Motsoaledi said the establishment of the Border Management Authority (BMA) should help mitigate the challenge of accounting for undocumented migrants.
JOHANNESBURG - Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said South Africa cannot account for how many undocumented migrants are in the country, which poses a challenge for the department.
Motsoaledi was briefing the media on Sunday on the White Paper on Citizenship, Immigration, and Refugee Protection.
Earlier in the week, Cabinet approved the publication of the draft policy for public comment.
Motsoaledi said the department, along with Statistics South Africa cannot fully account for how many people are in the country.
“South Africa today is a great place to live in, even though some South Africans don’t believe this. No one can account for all the undocumented migrants. The Department of Home Affairs has no idea as to how many illegal migrants are in South Africa here... because there is no mechanism of knowing.”
He said the establishment of the Border Management Authority (BMA) should help mitigate this challenge.
“People like to misconstrue facts that we established the BMA to stop people from coming into South Africa. We're not doing anything of that sort. All we're doing is that people must come into the country illegally."
Motsoaledi called on the review of the Border Management Authority Act to align with other legislation.
The Minister said every year, at least 15,000 illegal immigrants are deported from South Africa which comes at a huge cost for the country.
He said the goal is not to prevent people from coming into the country.
"All we are doing is, people must come into the country legally. Our problem here is illegality. The Border Management Authority Act must be reviewed so that we align it with Immigration, Citizenship Act as a new policy framework, because they were all passed differently at different times, without referral to each other."