Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has confirmed that currently, the South African government was unable to account for the number of undocumented foreign nationals within the country.
The minister was briefing the media on Sunday concerning the White Paper on Citizenship, Immigration and Refugee Protection.
The White Paper got approval of the Cabinet early last week and included the establishment of the Border Management Authority (BMA) as part of the government’s recent policy changes in order to mitigate the situation of foreign nations within the country.
Motsoaledi said that the Department of Home Affairs in conjunction with StatsSA remained in the dark over the number of undocumented immigrants in the country.
“The Department of Home Affairs has no idea as to how many illegal migrants are in South Africa here… because there is no mechanism of knowing,” Motsoaledi said.
He said the establishment of the BMA could assist in the alleviation of this challenge.
“People like to misconstrue facts that we established the BMA to stop people from coming into South Africa. We’re not doing anything of that sort. All we’re doing is that people must come into the country legally,” Motsoaledi said.
The BMA was established as a new model of integration of the various organs of state operating in the border law enforcement environment in response to the challenges of border security, control and coordination.
The department has previously said the agency was responsible for managing, monitoring, and securing the border, ports of entry, and exit points and ensured that the country’s immigration laws and regulations were being upheld and enforced.
Earlier this month Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said that the Home Affairs Department was in the process of beefing up its capacity to deport foreign nationals linked to illegal mining, following reports that over 2700 illegal foreign nationals were linked to illegal mining activity.