‘No one must be in SA without documentation’― Mashaba

Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba elaborated on his conception of illegal immigration while on a panel at the Mo Ibrahim Foundation’s Governance Weekend in Kigali, Rwanda this weekend sparking outrage.

Sitting on a panel, Mashaba was posed the question, “Is there a disconnect between genuine local sentiments (a fear of being overwhelmed by illegal immigrants) and aspirations for free travel and trade in Africa?” by Addis Ababa University researcher Michelle Mendi Muita, according to the Daily Maverick.

Muita also pointed out that South Africa did not sign the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement although 44 other countries signed it.

READ MORE: Africa’s free trade fairy tale

Mashaba referred to his 100 days in office report in December 2016, stating that he already gave his stance on illegal immigration and, according to the Daily Maverick, continued by saying, “I made it very clear South Africa is open to business, is open to the seven billion people of the world. I want them to come to South Africa, particularly Johannesburg, because Johannesburg for the past 106 years was built on the back of immigrants and people coming into South Africa.

“But firstly they have to come into our country legally, and when they are in, they must respect the laws of our country. That’s all I’m asking. I’m not asking for anything where people can’t come in. We sit with a massive number of undocumented people where Home Affairs are actually failing to ensure that, when people come into our country, they have the necessary documentation because, South Africans, by law, when a child is born, immediately they must get a birth certificate. When a child turns 16, immediately they must get an identity document, so therefore I cannot accept that anyone from the world can come into South Africa and not have documentation… Unfortunately for me this is not negotiable. When you come into South Africa, please come in legally, and respect the laws of our country.”

According to the Daily Maverick, his response was met by criticism. The African Peer Review Mechanism’s CEO, Eddy Maloka, who was at the forum, took to Facebook to air his grievances about Mashaba’s speech, “Listening to him with my eyes closed, I thought it was the infamous Donald Trump on the floor, defending his Great Wall project… at the end of the session, I rushed to the podium to tell the Mayor, in no uncertain terms, that he has shamed us, he has damaged our name, he has rolled back our efforts to reverse whatever misconceptions are out there about xenophobia in South Africa.” 

In the past, Mashaba has been known to make xenophobic comments. In his 100 days in office progress report, Mashaba stated that “illegal foreign nationals living in Johannesburg must be treated as criminals since they came to South Africa illegally,” according to EWN.

“They’re holding our country to ransom and I’m going to be the last South African to allow it. I’ve got constraints as local government, because the national government has opened our borders to criminality.”

After the report was released, Mashaba was condemned for being xenophobic. A week after giving his speech last December, Mashaba said in an interview with Radio 702 that “people who are in our city illegally – whether you are South African or you’re someone from outside – please, when you’re in our city, please respect our laws because if not, then we’re going to have a challenge.”


As described by the website, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation’s governance forum is designed to “tackle the challenges facing Africa and sets out priorities for action”. The Foundation was started in 2006 and focuses on “the critical importance of governance and leadership in Africa.”

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertising

ConCourt settles the law on the public protector and interim...

The Constitutional Court said it welcomed robust debate but criticised the populist rhetoric in the battle between Busisiwe Mkhwebane and Minister Pravin Gordhan

Small towns not ready for level 3

Officials in Beaufort West, which is on a route that links the Cape with the rest of the country, are worried relaxed lockdown regulations mean residents are now at risk of contracting Covid-19
Advertising

Press Releases

Covid-19 and Back to School Webinar

If our educators can take care of themselves, they can take care of the children they teach

5G technology is the future

Besides a healthcare problem Covid-19 is also a data issue and 5G technology, with its lightning speed, can help to curb its spread

JTI off to court for tobacco ban: Government not listening to industry or consumers

The tobacco ban places 109 000 jobs and 179 000 wholesalers and retailers at risk — including the livelihood of emerging farmers

Holistic Financial Planning for Professionals Webinar

Our lives are constantly in flux, so it makes sense that your financial planning must be reviewed frequently — preferably on an annual basis

Undeterred by Covid-19 pandemic, China and Africa hold hands, building a community of a shared future for mankind

It is clear that building a community with a shared future for all mankind has become a more pressing task than ever before

Wills, Estate Administration and Succession Planning Webinar

Capital Legacy has had no slowdown in lockdown regarding turnaround with clients, in storing or retrieving wills and in answering their questions

Call for Expression of Interest: Training supply and needs assessment to support the energy transition in South Africa

GIZ invites eligible and professional companies with local presence in South Africa to participate in this tender to support the energy transition

Obituary: Mohammed Tikly

His legacy will live on in the vision he shared for a brighter more socially just future, in which racism and discrimination are things of the past

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday