South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister, Aaron Motsoaledi, has announced that border guards have been trained and deployed to detect and prevent illegal entry into South Africa.
This move comes amid concerns raised by Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) parliamentarian, Liezl van der Merwe, about the growing number of undocumented foreign nationals in the country.
In response to the IFP parliamentarian’s concerns, Motsoaledi stated that the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) inspectorate unit coordinates with the police to locate illegal immigrants. When apprehended, their status is verified, and if found to be undocumented or illegal, the process of deportation is initiated.
The DHA will use handheld “IT tools” with biometric capabilities to remotely access and verify information on the National Population Register (NPR) during citizenship-related operations. The procurement of these tools was financed through the Criminal Asset Recovery (CARA) fund.
Last year, Motsoaledi informed the same IFP parliamentarian that the government does not have an exact number of undocumented immigrants in South Africa due to the secretive nature of being in the country illegally.
Statistics SA reports that there are 3.95 million foreign nationals in South Africa, regardless of their status. People may illegally enter South Africa for various reasons, including economic opportunities, political instability or persecution or justice in their home countries.