SA minister demands better migration controls
South Africa’s international relations minister has called for Africa to better manage migration.
Naledi Pandor’s comments came in the wake of a wave of xenophobic attacks.
Talking to migrant representatives, she also said that African leaders should not be allowed to worsen conditions in their countries and expect others to deal with the resulting migration.
Twelve people were killed earlier this month when mobs attacked foreign-owned businesses, mainly in Johannesburg.
Ten of the victims were South African and two were Zimbabweans.
President Cyril Ramaphosa told the BBC that he felt ashamed by the recent violence.
“We are very concerned and of course as a nation we [are] ashamed because this goes against the ethos of what South Africa stands for,” he said.
But in looking for solutions, Ms Pandor suggested this was not just a South African issue.
“We need to talk about the role that sending countries and transit countries play in assisting receiving countries such as South Africa, Kenya, Uganda and many others and in helping them manage the issue of migration far more effectively,” she told members of the African Diaspora Forum in Pretoria.
South Africa has become a magnet for migrants from other parts of Africa as it has one of the continent’s biggest and most developed economies.
But there is also high unemployment in the country and some people feel foreigners are taking their jobs.
Threats, attacks and killings against foreigners in South Africa
Ms Pandor turned to the continent’s need for rapid economic development to help deal with the rising population.
“No leader should be allowed to get away with allowing degradation and expecting someone else to provide a response to their countrymen and women,” the Daily Maverick news site quotes her as saying.
The people who have migrated to South Africa “tended to be… poor and unskilled, just as many many millions of black South Africans are”, she told BBC Hardtalk earlier this week.
“And so this migrant community has displaced South Africans from what they thought would be new job opportunities for them, hence this rise in… anger.”
She said better education would help improve people’s job prospects.
South Africa has faced damning criticism from leaders of other African countries over the violence.
Nigeria was notably outspoken and South Africa has issued an apology to the country.
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