Malusi Gigaba blames business as xenophobia spreads

Malusi Gigaba blames business as xenophobia spreads

Business‚ specifically the hospitality and retail sectors‚ are being targeted by the Home Affairs Minister‚ Malusi Gigaba‚ as he addresses tensions between citizens and foreign nationals.

Addressing a briefing on growing xenophobia in 2017‚ with outbreaks on violence in Gauteng‚ the minister told a briefing in Cape Town that there should be compliance with the Constitution and other laws of the Republic‚ by citizens and foreign nationals.

He said his department had prioritised documentation of people in South Africa‚ and deportation of those who are undocumented.

“This message to act responsibly‚” he said‚ has also been conveyed to businesses in the country‚ “starting with those in the hospitality sector‚ pointing to the folly and dangers of failing to comply with the laws of the Republic”.

“Business is a critical partner in managing anti-immigrant sentiments and more will be expected of them.

“In many cases business incentivises irregular migration‚ and those contributing to questionable labour practices must be held to account. It is far easier and convenient for some to target desperate and vulnerable migrants than the unscrupulous employers who deliberately fuel tensions in the labour market. It is easier and convenient to target dwellers of rundown buildings than irresponsible buildings’ owners.

“In this regard‚ a paradigm shift has been adopted‚ we will now target unethical businesses that employ illegal practices.

“Government is working with business on these issues‚ to ensure compliance‚ employment of locals and harmonious relationships desired for development‚ economic growth and empowerment of citizens.”

Gigaba said‚ “This work started before Rosettenville. As explained‚ businesses are a critical factor in some of the challenges. They should not fuel tensions‚ playing locals against foreigners‚ but should be on the side of the law. We have a commitment of the hospitality sector on the need to comply with SA’s labour and immigration laws‚ especially the requirement to employ a minimum 60% of local people. This is the message we are taking to the rest of business‚ and will feature strongly in our upcoming meetings. There will be workplace inspections and penalties for employing undocumented foreigners will be imposed.”

He said the department was making inroads on this: A total of 63 people who were employed by the Spar without documentation were arrested at three Spar supermarkets. “Of these‚ 19 females are detained at Pretoria Noord SAPS and 36 males plus 9 females are detained at Kameeldrift SAPS.”

“I have directed my office to set up a meeting with the management of Spar to discuss labour issues.”

The Minister also said much of his department’s work was going on behind the scenes.

“Measured rhetoric on our immigration work is a deliberate attempt at avoiding populism that may be misconstrued and fuel tensions.

“…South Africa is amongst the most diverse countries in the world‚ we are a host to multiple nationalities from the world. I reject any insinuation or assertion seeking to cast us as mere xenophobes.

“….I wish to appeal to all South Africans to desist from rhetoric or actions that are xenophobic. I also want to commend the many responsible South Africans who have been a living testament to Ubuntu and tolerance.

Source: TIMESLive

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