Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba says the Home Affairs Department has failed to deal with the issue of undocumented foreigners. The mayor has written to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee, requesting an opportunity to give details about the dysfunctional state of the department.
His comments come on the back of recent raids in the Johannesburg CBD. Over 600 foreign nationals appeared in court. Some were released after their documents were verified by Home Affairs.
But some people said their treatment in custody left much to be desired. Those arrested were grouped according to their nationalities, appearing before several different magistrates.
Mashaba said in an interview with eNCA that it is unfair to characterise his comments as targeted towards African migrants particularly. This is not an African problem, this is an international problem,” Mashaba said. “The question of counterfeit goods is not the competency of the City of Johannesburg, I run a municipality.
“Raids are to be conducted on counterfeit goods, it’s a raid led by the SAPS and I’ve always called on them, we give them tips on where to go. We on the ground, as a city know where the problems are,” Mashaba asserted.
“Unfortunately, they have to start somewhere but as far as I’m concerned I’ve been dealing with this matter for two and a half years,” the mayor said.
“If we had started and heeded my call when I raised this issue from December 2016 then ‘The City of Johannesburg is sitting with a timebomb’, [a] timebomb not only in the inner city, China Mall and other areas and so forth, we would really be very far.
“I am really pleased that the process has begun and I hope that the South African Police Services and Home Affairs are going to intensify this so that every corner of the City of Johannesburg where crime is committed that raids are conducted,” Mashaba said.
The mayor also responded to concerns about the health services offered by the city, placing some more blame on foreign nationals. Mashaba said, “we do monthly stats of people visiting our clinics without having documentation.
“Right now the stats run betwen 25 and 39 percent of our clinics are visited by people with no documentation whatsoever, and unfortunately we can’t send them back but at the same time we’ve got to treat them.”
He said, “it has obviously come to our attention where these undocumented people go from one clinic to the next collecting medication which gets shipped out of the country.
“And now, when our people are sick and come to our clinics sometimes we run out of medication because when we plan, we plan on the basis of our residents,” Mashaba stated.
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