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Traditional, Khoisan leaders urge minister Motsoaledi to address SA’s immigration challenges

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has conceded that migration is one of the topical issues that Traditional and Khoisan Leaders want to be addressed. Ramaphosa was opening the National House of Traditional and Khoisan Leaders in the National Council Provinces (NCOP) on Thursday.

Traditional and Khoisan Leaders say they met with Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi on Wednesday, a day before the President’s address. He briefed them about issues around illegal immigration and refugees.

Ramaphosa says traditional and Khoisan leaders have to work with government to address a myriad of challenges facing their communities, including migration.

“And I am also delighted that you have found time to deal with issues that are of concern to you on a Ministerial level. Minister Aaron Motsoaledi was telling me last night that he spent time with yourself – discussing the issues of migration. Those issues of migration are topical. They are important to you because as you do your work, issues of migration come rushing towards you. You have to deal with people from other lands, who are undocumented, who are illegal, and he told me that he pleaded with all of you that you should work together. So, there is a lot that we should be working together on, from local government to issues of migration. Issues of crime, issues of economic development,” Ramaphosa tells the House of Traditional Leaders.

Livestock theft

The Chairperson of the National House of Traditional and Khoisan Leaders, Kgosi Thabo Seatlholo says they are happy that Motsoaledi shows a willingness to deal with the issue of migration.

“As rural people, we are experiencing a lot of people that come into our communities and most of the time you find that some of them are involved in criminal activities, particularly livestock theft. You often find that when there are police investigations, people who come into our country and our villages illegally, are heavily involved in stealing our cattle, our goats and sheep. And sometimes they would even take it to our neighbouring countries and towns. It’s a really big issue. We feel like there is no proper focus or control over it. But fortunately yesterday the Minister showed really the intention of dealing,” says Seatlholo.

The Chairperson of the National Khoi and San Council, Cecil le Fleur says traditional and Khoisan leaders were united in calling on Motsoaledi to deal with the challenge of immigration. He says he asked Motsoaledi to embark on a robust action plan by implementing the immigration laws.

“So, our experiences pertaining to these issues are quite similar in the different areas of the country. And we regard it as a very very important issue. And in my contribution, I asked the Minister to embark on a robust action plan, start to address the root causes, and how we can implement the different laws that are already there. So, we know the laws are there but it’s all about that implementation of those laws that keep us in this position that we are kept (at) ransom by these refugees and illegal immigrants,” says le Fleur.

Crimes in rural villages

The President of CONTRALESA, Kgoshi Mathupa Mokoena says the issues around illegal immigration will also dominate when they debate President  Ramaphosa’s address in March in Pretoria.

Mokoena says undocumented foreign nationals who commit crimes in rural villages are often not traceable. He says illegal immigration should be put under control.

“It is a challenge because some of them are committing a crime and you can’t trace them, because they are not properly registered. Some of them are selling fake goods and we are consuming them as South Africans and it’s not good. Some of them are just using their shops; they are sleeping in there while they are selling bread. You can imagine what kind of disaster is that. Hence, we say health inspectors must start doing their job and the Department of Home Affairs and all justice cluster departments, let them come together to solve these problems or else our country is under siege”,  says Mokoena.

Source: SABC News

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