South Africa’s ‘porous’ borders must be secured immediately…Maimane

In the wake of the flooding of illegal immigrants into SA, DA leader Mmusi Maimane has reiterated his call upon national government to tighten South Africa’s porous borders and ensure it has a database of every person living in the country.

Maimane was accompanied by DA Gauteng premier candidate Solly Msimanga and other senior members during a walkabout at Princess Clinic in Roodepoort, west of Johannesburg on Wednesday.

Maimane said he has never shied away from raising the issue of border protection in the country.

“We have non-citizens who are in the country. There is no country in the world that has porous borders like we have in South Africa. We can’t identify the place of origin of non-citizens in the country. Our borders need to be secured.

“South Africans and immigrants should be properly registered. Home Affairs should ensure that it does its work and document everybody in the country,” he said.

Maimane said his party doesn’t condone acts of xenophobia and promised that under a DA-led government, the attack on foreign nationals – legal or illegal – would be regarded as a criminal act.

He said his party has put forward a proposal on how to manage all borders in South Africa.

Maimane assured citizens of Alexandra that Mayor Herman Mashaba would visit the township on Monday to listen to their grievances. He called upon people who had allegedly unfairly benefited from the multi-billion rand Alexandra Renewal Programme (ARP) to come forward.

“There must be a thorough investigation on what happened to the ARP. We call on the ANC not to hold rallies and protests in Alexandra against the DA. The ANC has failed the people of Alexandra over the past 22 years. There must be progress in Alexandra.

“Alexandra is a long-term project. We are inheriting the mess of the ANC. I have been informed by intelligence that there will also be shut-downs in Tshwane and Soweto. They are targeting DA municipalities. We have a plan for Alexandra to be renewed,” Maimane said.

Msimanga spoke about healthcare in the province and said there is a need for 12 hospitals in Gauteng. In addition, there are 2 000 nurses in the province who have been trained but not incorporated into the health system.

He complained about the centralisation of ambulances in Gauteng and promised that under his leadership, all ambulances will be decentralised.

“We need to speed up the process to ensure there is a smooth-running health system in Gauteng. Our hospitals should have chief executive officers who are accountable and who must have their own budgets to acquire resources,” he said.

Msimanga said that the DA alerted police that the recent Alexandra protests were politically motivated.

We need this to prevent the trafficking of drugs. We need this to prevent the trafficking of humans. We need this to prevent the spread of animal diseases. We need this to prevent cross-border crimes like stock theft and vehicle theft syndicates. We need this to prevent criminals from evading the law. We need this to prevent acts of terror and the movement of weapons. But above all, we need effective border control to run our country properly and make every Rand count.

Only when every person in the country – whether a South African citizen or a foreign national – is accounted for and properly documented, can we plan for effective service delivery and ensure that our budgets meet the needs of the various communities. This means having a clear picture of exactly who has entered and left our borders, and preventing those wanting to enter illegally from doing so.

It also means making it easier for those who want to come here legally. It means recognising legitimate refugees and asylum-seekers, and treating them with the dignity and respect they deserve. It means welcoming those who bring their skills to help grow our economy, and not placing unnecessary obstacles in their way.

All of this requires a bold plan to secure our country’s borders, properly resource our border posts and rid Home Affairs of corruption and inefficiency. Unfortunately, the ANC government has no such plan. Instead, they have allowed our borders to become a free-for-all and, as a result, have no idea who is inside our country and how to plan budgets like housing, healthcare and education.

Between the under-resourcing of the SANDF and the corruption and mismanagement of the Department of Home Affairs, our porous borders have put all South Africans at risk – either directly from cross border crime, or indirectly through lack of fair access to resources.

If the ANC could have – or wanted to – secure our borders, they would have done so a long time ago. But they can’t, and so it will fall to a DA government to fix the fences, deploy the troops and reform Home Affairs into a modern, 21st Century government department that can clear the backlog of undocumented people. Just this morning I visited clinics in Johannesburg that have started using biometrics to capture and share health data. This is the kind of innovation that will be key in delivering services, whether in healthcare, education or Home Affairs.

If you look at the various parties’ election manifestos, it is clear that the DA is the only party in South Africa that takes this issue seriously. Our plan to secure the country’s borders includes:

  • Auditing, properly recording and, where appropriate, regularising all undocumented foreign nationals already in the country.
  • Making legal entry and residence easier for skilled immigrants and businesses from all countries, especially from within Africa.
  • Helping South Africans to travel and do business, and assisting those wanting to live, work and trade in South Africa legally.
  • Assisting and supporting asylum seekers, and protecting refugees and those who have been trafficked across our borders.
  • Reviewing the number and size of border posts and their management to increase the number of points of legal entry and exit.
  • Ensuring effective and coordinated border security and border control through increased policing capacity at our border posts and along our borders.
  • Increasing the 15 SANDF companies protecting South Africa’s borders to the required 22 companies, and ensuring that they are properly resourced and trained.

The ANC has shown us that it has no intention to plug the gaping holes along our land borders that we share with six other countries. It has no intention to allocate the SANDF resources to these border posts. And it certainly has no intention to rid Home Affairs of corruption.

In short, the ANC cares less for the people of South Africa than it cares for itself.

Next month we all have an opportunity to vote for a government that has its priorities straight. We have an opportunity to flex the power of our collective votes and fire the government that has let our country down so badly. It is crucial that we use this opportunity, because another five years may be too late.

Help us bring an honest caring government both to South Africa and to this great province of Gauteng.

Help us secure our country’s borders and put the interest of the people first.

Help us build one united, prosperous South Africa for all its people.

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