SOUTH AFRICAN PARLIAMENT PLAYING MUSICAL CHAIRS : IMMIGRANTS, ILLEGALS, CRIME, KILLINGS AND BORDER PATROL
While recognising the many problems associated with the control of illegal immigration and the necessity for dealing carefully, economically and effectively with the problem, illegal immigrants are law-breakers who pose a threat to South Africa by placing a heavy strain on the country’s resources. Repatriation is the best option.
Report from the Presidency’s Office: August 2014
South Africa’s borders are effectively safe guarded, secured and well-managed. South Africa’s land and maritime borders, as well as the airspace, need to be effectively safe guarded and secured to curb transnational organised crime and corruption, particularly at ports of entry and land borderline. Some of the criminal activities include Illegal immigration, cross-border crime that involves drug trafficking, human trafficking and smuggling, proliferation in arms smuggling, stolen vehicle smuggling and illegal importing of contraband to mention but a few, which is exacerbated by the presence of some corrupt border officials at our ports of entry. Risks to border security can, and increasingly do, lie anywhere, not just within territorial limits or within a traditional jurisdiction of a single country. The protection of the border suggests that these risks should be met where they may be found, and preferably way before illegal goods or undesirable travellers even enter the border of the country.
Minister Naledi Pandor’s media statement: 28 February 2014: If a foreign national who does not have a legal permit has a business, they are illegal in the country and this is one of the areas I referred to in the cluster of government statement earlier this week; that because of poor capacity in immigration, particularly Inspectorate, we have allowed a number of illegal practices to continue to exist in the country. And, we have to develop the capacity in immigration to be able to address illegal practices. We have allowed illegal migration, we have allowed persons to set up businesses without permits, we have allowed persons to get work permits fraudulently, employers are employing persons who do not have legal status; all of these things have to be attended to and addressed by strengthening immigration in South Africa because no country allows itself to have immigration laws abused and neglected in the way that, to some degree, South Africa has allowed things to happen.
WHAT IS THE REAL SITUATION ABOUT CRIME AND SPECIFIC ON OUR BORDERS?
It seems that it is harder for a bona fide businessman from Nigeria to get a visa and enter South Africa on business than it is to smuggle girls into the Transkei or drugs into the Saldanha harbour or across the Zimbabwe border. There are many hard-working officers making arrests, but the system is cracking because government departments cannot get the basics right. South Africa needs a proper coastguard with at least four well-maintained sea-going vessels with full equipment on board to clean up oil spills, inspect for drug and human trafficking and make arrests. Four dedicated vessels will allow for one per province. A register should be kept of the number of ships inspected and fines issued.
With regard to our other borders, the defence force has got to step up its patrolling, fencing, arresting and prosecuting. The police also have to get back to the basics in removing undocumented illegal immigrants. It is one thing to have documented refugees, another to have unknown elements roving the country uncontrolled.
If we don’t secure our seas and our borders, what is the point of arresting drug dealers and pimps? They are the result of a much bigger problem. The country is in the middle of a drugs and human trafficking crisis.
When examining the wider environment, we already know that the borders between South Africa and Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Lesotho are not patrolled regularly.
Our crime figures are high by anyone’s reckoning. The drug industry in Johannesburg’s nightclubs and poorer neighbourhoods such as Hillbrow, Windsor and Eldorado Park, and the drugs crisis on the Cape Flats in Cape Town, in areas such as Manenberg, are legendary. In fact, the violence associated with crimes such as robbery and hijacking is often associated with drug trafficking by criminals. The pattern seems to be that criminals who use drugs are more violent than criminals who don’t use drugs.
The rate of illegal immigrants and human trafficking is alarming. Officers at a police station have suspended arresting illegal immigrants or “undocumented persons”, as they are classified, unless the Department of Home Affairs is prepared to accompany them on the raids or inspections.
The reason given: some police officers are using the arrest of illegal immigrants as a means of supplementing their income by rearresting them and demanding a bribe to let them go. Often the employers of illegal immigrants (restaurant and shop owners) will pay the bribe. (If their chef is arrested, the restaurant may not be able to open for the day.) While the government has policies and laws against human trafficking in place, the number of arrests and prosecutions remains about as low as the number of people prosecuted for the raping of lesbians in Soweto – extremely few!
In fact, the only border that is patrolled at anything near the required level is the border with Mozambique. This border is patrolled mostly by adjacent game reserves to protect our rhinos and other wildlife because of the poaching of animals in Kruger National Park. It’s not perfect, but at least something is being done.
ESTIMATE STATISTICS IN 2013 (Home Affairs: Parliament)
Immigration is one of our expanding service areas. According to the World Bank migration and remittances unit, in 2010 there were 1.9 million immigrants living in South Africa – about 3.7% of the population, notably from Zimbabwe (859,000), Mozambique (455,000) and Lesotho (351,000). At the same time 878,000 South Africans lived overseas, particularly in the UK (226,000), Mozambique (155,000) and Australia (133,000). Immigrants remitted $720 million out of SA, while SA emigrants remitted $1,2 billion back into South Africa (2010). Census 2011 provides an update and estimates that around 2,7 million or 5.7% of South Africa’s 51.7 million people are foreign born.
As part of our strategy to attract skills we made 50,000 permits available for scarce skills, but only 20, 673 work permits were issued in 2011 (Documented immigrants in South Africa 2011 | Statistics SA) This means we have not filled our quota. We’ll be asking the Immigration Advisory Board to look into this whole area again and to reconsider whether the limit is set at the right level.
ESTIMATE STATISTICS IN 2014 (Parliament)
It was said in Parliament, that in 2010, academics and researchers estimated that they were 3 million Zimbabweans in South Africa. In any country, it was difficult to establish the number of illegal migrants. Claims that there are between two and three million Zimbabweans living in South Africa cannot be substantiated. Through regularising their stay, Department of Home Affairs (DHA) would be able to know the number of Zimbabweans in South Africa. The disadvantage of this was the effect on social services like health which must be provided based on international conventions, and the right to protect foreigners when they enter South Africa. The problem of illegal immigration in South Africa arose because the attractiveness of the economy compared to other African states. Through the Department and the Border Control divisions, there was now a Border Management Agency, to consolidate the work of all relevant departments in the ports environment and to ensure that there was one central command. The SA Defence Forces had been deployed to manage borderlines where people used informal crossings to come into South Africa. Illegal migration in South Africa was a serious problem and DHA would need to expand its staff significantly to deal with this problem.
Border Policing provides policing and security at ports of entry. The functioning of border policing relates to the effective, efficient and economical management of policing and security within the border environment, which is air, land and sea borders. These include nine seaports (inclusive of one dry port), 10 international airports and 53 land ports. The smaller slipways/harbours and airstrips are policed by the relevant police stations of that specific area. To enhance national security and territorial integrity, the SAPS conducted 4 430 planned crime prevention and combatting actions at ports of entry.
These operations and day-to-day activities contributed to various arrests and seizures. 6 535 roadblocks, 81 047 vehicle patrols, 35 air patrols, 105 554 foot patrols, 2 873 borderline patrols, 1 364 farm visits, 4 283 vessel patrols and 9 365 perimeter inspections formed part of these actions, among others. Some 25 421 arrests were made at ports of entry in 2011/12.
During 2012-13 soldiers patrolling the country’s borders, on foot and horseback as well as on motorcycles and in specifically modified and strengthened bakkies, also apprehended 80 000 undocumented persons. These range from people attempting to enter South Africa illegally, either in search of work or to sell goods on which no tax or excise duty has been paid. Soldiers handed them over to the SA Police Service and Department of Home Affairs for further action. With the broad mandate of securing South Africa’s borders the soldiers were also responsible for the arrest of 2 000 known criminals, recovering more than 300 stolen vehicles and 18 000 head of livestock, mostly cattle but also goats, sheep and chickens. A hundred and three weapons of various calibres and types were also confiscated from undocumented persons and illegal immigrants. The presence of soldiers in the Kruger National Park, which borders both Mozambique and Zimbabwe, has seen soldiers given an additional task providing assistance to the park’s ranger corps and other security agencies to prevent rhino poaching.
The SANDF plans for Operation Corona will see 22 companies, each comprising about 165 personnel, deployed along the country’s 4 471km landward borders by the end of the 2015/16 financial year.
More Background on the Musical Chairs
Borderline control and security were historically the responsibility of the South African Police (SAP) until the withdrawal of the counterinsurgency units at the end of 1990. The Army has maintained a presence on the borders in significant numbers since the 1970s. In the Interim Constitution of 1993, borderline functions were again allocated to the South African Police Service (SAPS). However, with the sharp rise in crime in the country and the subsequent extra burden this placed on the police, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) was placed in service by the president to assist and support the SAPS with crime prevention, including assistance in borderline security. As a result, the SANDF had a strong presence with 28 infantry companies and five aircraft deployed on the international borders of South Africa.
An agreement was signed on 10 June 1998 between the SANDF and the SAPS that designated the responsibility for borderline protection to the SANDF. In terms of this agreement, as contained in a cabinet memorandum, the SANDF has formally been requested to patrol the borders of South Africa. This is to ensure that the integrity of borders is maintained by preventing the unfettered movement of people and goods across the South African borderline between border posts. The role of the SANDF has been defined technically as one of support to the SAPS and other departments to combat crime.
The Border Control Operational Coordinating Committee is an affiliated structure of the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster and was mandated in 2005 to strategically manage the South African border environment in a coordinated manner.
The following Government institutions are involved in the Border Control and Security Framework: the National Departments of Home Affairs, Intelligence, Transport, Public Works, Agriculture, Health and Defence as well as the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the South African Revenue Service (SARS)
The Border Control Operational Coordinating Committee (BCOCC), under the leadership of the South African Revenue Service (SARS), was mandated by Cabinet in 2007 to oversee and coordinate the functions of all state agencies operating at our country’s borders. The BCOCC is the custodian for strategic management of the South African border environment. It was to carry out its responsibilities without changing the existing accountabilities of the different border management agencies.
Management and control of some of our borders is a major challenge. Cabinet has recently agreed that, at least until 2010, the SANDF will be re-engaged in securing our borderlines. The Justice Crime Prevention and Security Cluster has also been tasked by Cabinet to address the matter of border control. The cluster is developing a comprehensive approach and plan to deal with this area
South Africa will continue to improve security at its borders as it steps up the fight against cross-border crime, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe told journalists in Pretoria. Since the first deployment of South African National Defence Force (SANDF) troops along the country’s borders in April 2010, a total of 11 SANDF companies had been stationed on SA’s borders with Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Mozambique and Lesotho, Radebe said.A further four companies would be deployed along South Africa’s borders with Botswana and Namibia in 2013/14.
The SANDF took back border protection duties from the SA Police Service in 2009 and has had considerable success in stopping the movement of illegal goods, mainly cigarettes and liquor, into South Africa. Operational successes mentioned by Nhleko during the briefing included more than three thousand illegal foreigners arrested, 156 criminals arrested, 29 stolen vehicles recovered and contraband goods to the value of more than R9 million confiscated. He did not give a timeframe in which these successes were achieved. Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko has told a Cabinet Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster briefing in Cape Town there were now 13 sub-units (companies) “executing” border safeguarding in Limpopo, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and North West Provinces as part of Phase Four of the on-going operation.
“SANDF units are actively involved in community outreach programmes in the Pongola and Mpumalanga areas. Their contributions include using own resources (own income) raised through donations to build shelters for the poor and needy.
Feeding scheme projects are undertaken to support families and orphans with food hampers on a weekly basis in the Pongola area. As part of a project ‘Caregiver to the poorest’, the project focused on feeding orphans, building 10 houses and assisting the community in obtaining identification cards. The SA Army also assisted the youth at schools by organising sports activities and buying school uniforms and books. Whilst deployed along the Swaziland border and surrounding areas of Pongola, local chiefs, farmers and municipal leaders were visited as part of community interactions to establish good relations,”.
BUDGETS AND FUNDINGS
Expenditure increased from R41,6 billion in 2008/09 to R58,6 billion in 2011/12, at an average annual rate of 12%. This was driven mainly by increased expenditure in compensation of employees to provide for additional capacity and improved conditions of services.
The budget for 2012/13 for the Department of Police is R62,5 billion. For 2012/13, the department planned on visible policing at more than 40% of the budget to enable police stations to institute and preserve safety and security, provide for specialised interventions and the policing of South Africa’s borders.
Immigrante is ‘n wereldwye probleem – nie net in Suid-Afrika nie, maar ons kan iets daaromtrent doen om ons vryheid terug te kry. Indien ons Eksterne selfbeskikking verkry, sal ons ook ons eie grense beheer en kontrole uitoefen. Onsself regeer. Werkskeppingsgeleenthede en dissipline vir ons nasie, jeug, besighede en entrepreneurs. Ons sal verantwoordelik wees vir ons eie veiligheid – ons doen dit vandag in elk geval self. Of ons dit nou in die nuwe Suid-Afrika doen of in ons eie gebied – weeg maar self voor en nadele teenoor mekaar op.
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