Africa: Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi, Wednesday, June 22, held a meeting with a number of South African Civil Rights Movements to discuss the growing crisis of illegal immigration and interrelated problems in the country.
The meeting was the first in a series of more planned engagements to deal with the issue of concerns raised by the Civil Rights Movements.
The meeting was attended by the Minister of Employment and Labour, Deputy Minister Boitumelo Moloi, Department of Employment Director-General Thobile Lamati, the department’s executive committee members, together with Civil Rights Movements which included: Operation Dudula, Put South Africans First, Soweto Parliament, Forgotten Citizens and the All Truck Drivers Foundation. It was held at the Compensation Fund head office at Delta House in Pretoria.
Minister Nxesi said the government and the department were already on top of the many issues that the Civil Rights Movement had raised.
He said the National Labour Migration Policy (NLMP) that was unveiled in February 2022 was one of those interventions. He said following the invitation for comment to the NLMP; the department was now consolidating comments on the policy instrument. Once that was done, this would speed up the finalisation of the instrument.
The Minister’s meeting with social partners focused on:
· Illegal immigration crisis.
· Abuse of South African ID and travel documents
· Mismanagement of immigration
· Criminality and infiltration of South African institutions
· Abuse of Corporate visas
· Turning of firms into barracks
· The skyrocketing unemployment and quotas
· Informal trading
· Burgeoning squatter camps across the country
· Human trafficking
· Uncontrolled number of Spaza shops in townships operated by illegal migrants
· Electricity crisis
· Appointment of foreign educators when many South African Teachers are unemployed
· Inclusion of skills that are available amongst South Africans in the “Scarce and Critical skills list”; e.g. Call Centre Managers, Nurse Educators, Lecturers, Engineers, Draughtsperson etc.
The Social partners believe that the root cause of the above issues is the illegal immigration crisis facing the country. In this regard, they have submitted a letter to the President, through Nat Joints, requesting that he declares a State of Emergency on the illegal immigration crisis.
Nxesi said the government believed that a multi-disciplinary approach involving a number of departments was the right formula to deal with a number of issues raised by the Civil Rights Movements.
“We do not have a one-size fits all solution. We need to categorise issues according to their complexity. Some of these are short-term, and some will take time to resolve. We need social partners to make proposals and work with us,” he said. He challenged the Civil Rights Movements to work with the department’s Inspection and Enforcement Services (IES) branch by exchanging information so as to help intensify inspections.
Deputy Minister Moloi said a committee would be formed to share notes with the Civil Rights Movements. She promised the Civil Rights Movements that another meeting would be held within the next two weeks.
The Minister’s meeting with the Civil Rights Movements follows another similar meeting at the weekend which culminated this week in the signing by the Road and Freight Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) in partnership with the road and freight industry stakeholders of an 11-point Action Plan to deal with industry challenges and the recruitment of foreign nationals.
The Implementation Plan consists of the following actions: facilitate the Appointment of the task team; enforcement of the VISA requirements; the need for consideration of all foreign driving licenses; registration and compliance with labour laws; registration of operators in terms of Section 45 of the National Road Traffic Act (NRTA); review of the Traffic Register Number; review of the Cross-Border Road Transport Legislation; amendment of the National Road Traffic Regulation; integrated joint multi-disciplinary law enforcement operations; implement Driver Training Programme; and consideration of the introduction of Operating Licenses for the industry.