No country in the world can afford to not secure its borders, and the costs of not doing so are astronomical.
Speaking at a media briefing on Monday morning, the Democratic Alliance’s premier candidate Solly Msimanga, the DA’s spokesperson on immigration Jacques Julius, and spokesperson, Solly Malatsi, the party outlined its plans “to secure our borders and stop illegal immigration”.
Read: DA targets foreigners in bid to win Gauteng
The party said that South Africa had “been taken down the wrong path by decades of ANC mismanagement and corruption”.
One of the failed aspects of the ANC’s rule, the DA said, was its current policies on immigration.
“No country in the world can afford to not secure its borders precisely because uncontrolled immigration violates the rights of both nationals of a given country and those foreign nationals who seek to be legally recognised,” Julius said.
Julius also noted the department of home affairs’s inefficiencies at securing the country’s borders, and that due to the high levels of crime and corruption at the department, “it actively contributes to illegal immigration, and the South African National Defence Force has not been afforded the human and technical resources it needs to patrol our borders and secure them”.
Julius said that due to an understated number of asylum claims that the department was dealing with, “it does not account for claims which ‘fall out’ of the system for various reasons, for example, permits not being renewed timeously”.
As part of the plan to curb illegal immigration, the DA had focused its attention on strengthening border control by implementing measures such as revamping and improving border management and initiating a once-off investigation into corruption in the department led by a “reformed” Hawks.
The party added that the country needed to help asylum seekers, and would also like to attract foreigners with scarce skills.
“We need to attract highly skilled immigrants to fill our skills gaps and allow them to build businesses and create jobs,” Julius said.
Julius illustrated the need for stricter border control by referring to New York Times columnist and three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas Friedman, who had in the past agreed with US president Donald Trump’s policy on building the highly controversial US-Mexico border wall and said that he wanted “a high wall with a big gate”.
“So we are of the notion that if we have high walls, we must have a big gate, and we believe that we must welcome our foreign nationals. They must do so legally though,” Julius said.
Harsher measures will be imposed on those who are found to be entering the country illegally, and they will be arrested and deported.