Elections 2024: Party leaders promise to crack whip on illegal immigration and porous borders, if elected

Different party leaders have promises to crack down on illegal immigration and our porous borders, if elected. File Picture Henk Kruger / Independent Newspapers

Different party leaders have promises to crack down on illegal immigration and our porous borders, if elected. File Picture Henk Kruger / Independent Newspapers

Published Mar 31, 2024


As the race for the Union Buildings in 2024 builds up, threats by party presidential candidates to tighten our land borders are growing, sparking worries among foreign nationals who are seeking greener pastures in the country.

Many of the remarks were made during the parties’ election campaigns and manifesto speeches that if they were elected to office, they would immediately sweep clean our porous borders.

Citizens have been on the government’s neck for decades to secure our borders, given the rise of illegal migration to the country since democracy.

Many complained about how illegal and undocumented immigrants were heavy on the government’s budget in recent years, resulting in it failing to meet its targets of service delivery to its citizens.

This varies from healthcare, education, social, safety, and security, as well as criminal justice services.

The country experienced the zama-zamas in mining and also cable theft and illegal smuggling of illicit goods.

Presidential candidates, PA’s Gayton McKenzie, ActionSA’s Herman Mashaba, Rise Mzansi’s Songezo Zibi, DA’s John Steenhuisen, and Bosa’s Mmusi Maimane have endorsed the idea of securing the borders.

Meanwhile, EFF’s Julius Malema is calling for open borders.

Here are some of the plans under consideration, should any of them win the elections:

Border Enforcement

“Abahambe, Hambani,” these were some of the screams directed at foreign nationals from McKenzie during the party’s manifesto launch at Orlando Stadium in Soweto last year.

McKenzie, who has been vocal about the deportation of immigrants to their homeland, said he would not mind unplugging a life support machine of a foreign national just to save a South African.

In January, he went as far as going to the Beitbridge border in Limpopo to monitor the situation, as many foreign nationals were returning to the country from the December holidays.

If elected, McKenzie promised to enforce laws and chase undocumented immigrants out of the country.

Last week, during ActionSA’s manifesto launch, Mashaba vowed to clamp down on corruption and restore the rule of law to its constitutional form.

ActionSA will secure our borders, to bring an end to illegal immigration, and the inflow of illicit goods, while streamlining legal immigration.

“We have always said that we want the people of the world to come to South Africa, but, they must do so legally and when they are here, they must obey our laws.”

In addition to securing our borders, he said they will overhaul the Home Affairs Department to clamp down on corruption, and the issuing of fraudulent documents.

“Under an ActionSA government, the printing of falsified identity documents will never be allowed. This practise will be treated as treason,” he said.

Delivering Rise Mzansi’s manifesto, leader Zibi said checks and balances should be in place to tighten the country’s rules and immigration laws. This includes securing borders.

The party will seek a fresh database of all citizens who are in the country.

Steenhuisen, leader of the official opposition, also vowed that a DA’government will secure our borders and stop illegal immigration by ensuring that all immigrants are registered at Home Affairs and restoring order and control at our borders.

Maimane’s stance on immigration is that a Bosa government would ensure that immigration laws were amended to allow easy entry of skilled migrants to work sectors requiring skills.

This is despite many human rights organisations saying most of the leaders were preaching xenophobia.

The 2024 national and provincial elections will be held on May 29.

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