Illegal immigration and weak border controls in South Africa
Dithebe, Maite Esther Vuyiswa
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South Africa's transition from apartheid to a constitutional democracy has been internationally applauded. The inception of a democratic South Africa has since become a beckon of hope to many African countries who are still suffering from poverty, civil wars, genocides, colonial legacies and serious socio-economic inequalities. With every victory comes hardship. That is, South Africa's transition into democracy has not been without challenges. Like many other developing countries, South Africa is facing a challenge of the influx of illegal immigrants. The mounting number of African illegal immigrants remains an issue of concern in the 21st century. This is due to individuals making decisions to relocate to other countries for social, political and economic reasons. The illegal immigrants are aided by the porous nature of borders in Africa and South Africa in general. This influx has contributed to the rise of social tension between African immigrants and South Africa, evidenced by the recent xenophobic attacks borne out of a contention for the informal labour sector and other scarce resources. South Africa's foreign policy towards the continent and the region has been punctuated with notions like Ubuntu which to some extent has been construed as an open door policy for unfettered immigration. As a leading member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), chairing the Organ for politics, defence and security (OPDS), the expectation for South Africa to absorb as many immigrants as possible has not wavered among fellow African countries. This paper reviews the recent attempts by government to manage the increasing number of illegal immigrants in the country. The purpose of this study is to present systematic review of available evidence from the findings of the collected data and literature reviewed concerning the aim of the study. The study was done using exploratory research design that employed qualitative research methodology. The population was purposely selected given the nature of the study. The first argument of the paper is that South Africa should ensure that there are effective border controls and security to curb the increasing number of illegal immigrants entering in the country. Secondly the paper argues that the South African government should ensure that illegal immigration does not spill over and dilute the sovereignty and national security of the country. To achieve these objectives, the study engages theories that help understand the importance of legal entry, sovereignty and national interests. It is hoped that the recommendations of the study will inform the government and other supporting structures about the management of illegal immigrants and how to manage the weak borders of the country.
- Humanities