Africa

ANC to reconsider current immigration laws at upcoming policy conference

The ANC has proposed a complete overhaul of the immigration system and has come up with a number of measures to tighten the country’s immigration laws.

The party has suggested that an immigration board and special immigration courts be set up.

ANC NEC member Aaron Motsoaledi presented the discussion documents on Peace and Stability with a focus on Immigration this Tuesday to the media as the party prepares for its policy conference that will take place this weekend.

The ANC has conceded that since it took power in 1994 it has no clear policy framework on immigration. In dealing with the issues related to illegal immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees, the party has proposed the establishment of an Immigration board that comprises of a number of stakeholders.

ANC NEC member Aaron Motsoaledi explains the rationale behind the proposed board. “At the moment, the department that decides on these immigration matters is Home Affairs and nobody else. I can assure you that whatever decision that Home Affairs has taken impacts on the work of many other government departments and many of them start raising objections long after Home Affairs has taken a decision. So, we believe in South Africa there must be a huge immigration board that represents all these bodies, the government departments I have mentioned, the civil society representatives and the labour representatives.”

Establishment of Special Court to deal with immigration

Another proposal is the establishment of special courts to deal with issues related to immigration. Motsoaledi says the party will be discussing a number of measures aimed at tightening the country’s immigration laws.

He noted that the current system results in long delays in the country’s courts. “It delays finalising issues including deportation. In many instances, people who come here illegally launch high court proceedings on an urgent basis to stop impending deportation and later after having done so they just disappear even before the court can sit and we are unable to find them granted that South Africa unlike all other countries do not put refugees in camps. As you know, we believe that the present system is an over elaborative appeal system, it takes literally up to a decade to finalise these matters.”

He also says it’s high time that experienced and skilled immigration officers are hired so they can adequately deal with the issue of the country’s porous borders.

“This is not about policing really it’s about doing the correct things at the beginning, interpreting the laws correctly so we are making a recommendation that the inspectorate – the people that must serve in the inspectorate must have legal qualifications and they must have experience in policing in forensic investigation, in data analysis and other relevant fields so that they are able to deal with these matters professionally not just in a way of crude law enforcement.”

Meanwhile, the United Nations has also donated nearly R150 million to assist with the employment of personnel to reduce the large backlog in the refugees appeal process.

VIDEO | ANC Policy Conference | Previewing the weekend’s conference:

 

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