New Immigration Plan ‘Only in ANC’s Interest’
Mail and Guardian Online (South Africa), Mar. 9
The Democratic Alliance has criticised apparent government plans to do away with visa requirements for about 2,9-billion people, mainly from poorer countries around the world.
“This opens up the serious prospect of millions of people flooding into South Africa to compete for jobs and social grants,” DA chief election spokesperson Douglas Gibson said.
The Constitutional Court ruled last week that social welfare grants could no longer be limited to South African citizens only.
Exempting 2,9-billion people from visa requirements — from most African countries, as well as China, Russia and India — is an open invitation to them to come to South Africa for the chance of a better life, Gibson said.
He was responding to a report in ThisDay newspaper on Tuesday, which said Cabinet wants the visa exemptions included in the new immigration regulations.
In a statement on Tuesday, Gibson said what the regulations should be doing is inviting people to come to South African to help provide a better life.
“What is in it for South Africa? The African National Congress seems to be putting ideological and party-political considerations ahead of South Africa’s best interests.”
The original intention of the Immigration Act and the regulations was to serve South Africa’s interests by attracting desperately needed skills and tourist dollars to the country, he said.
“But instead, the ANC has chosen to offer universal visa exemptions to countries with which it has close historical ties.”
South Africa is desperately short of skilled professionals in a number of sectors.
Home Affairs Minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi set out to solve this problem by liberalising immigration laws and regulations, and encouraging those with something to offer South Africa to come here.
“Minister Buthelezi has been acting in the best interests of the country. The ANC, by contrast, acts only in the interests of the ANC,” Gibson said.