Editorial: Home affairs hypocrisy

For migrants who have watched the Gupta citizenship saga over the past week, rage does not begin to describe their feelings. This family got what many could not: they found the secret to getting home affairs to do their bidding.

The laissez-faire attitude of Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba, as he summarily stripped the Guptas of their citizenship, then recanted his statement (using his director general as a mouthpiece), was the only thing most African migrants could relate to in this entire situation.

The legality of a migrant’s stay in South Africa is entirely at the whim of incompetent and/or indifferent officials. Your country of origin is an amusement to them, and you should be grateful simply to be here — you should not ask to have your humanity recognised or be treated with kindness, fairness or professionalism.

As for the Guptas’ experience with home affairs, who knew it could be so efficient? Who knew you could be treated in a professional manner without being laughed at for wanting a better life and going about it legally? Who knew you could be granted permits without humiliation, exorbitant costs or unnecessary rigamarole? One prominent family knew. Don’t start getting ideas above your station, though.

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