By Thupeyo Muleya
The Government of South Africa yesterday dismissed as false reports that they will conduct an anti- immigrants crusade, where they would carry out mass deportations of all foreigners living in that country.
Since the beginning of the year, social media has been awash with xenophobia-motivated attack messages where foreigners, including Zimbabweans living in that country would be targeted starting from yesterday.
The messages had caused a lot of anxiety and sparked fears among foreigners especially those from Sadc.
In a statement yesterday, the Department of Home Affairs called for co-operation among stakeholders to ensure the safety of all citizens.
According to the department, their Cabinet has since established an Inter-Ministerial Committee on Migration to focus on key migration issues and how they impact on the nation.
“The Department of Home Affairs distances itself from messages circulating on social media networks and Short Message Services (SMS) alleging that it has ordered immediate deportation of undocumented migrants from Monday 23 January 2017.
“We wish to inform the public that such information is false. No such statement was made or issued by the department or any official. Home Affairs acts consistently within the confines of the Constitution of the Republic and seeks at all times to uphold the rule of law. This would run contrary to the laws of our country to instruct citizens, as purported in the malicious messages, to take the law into their hands, and to close companies down without due process,” read part of the statement.
The department said they enforced immigration laws in terms of the Immigration Act 13 of 2002 and regulations.
They said they had an inspectorate which ensures people in that country are correctly documented and that they stay on a lawful basis and acquire documents and status lawfully.
“It has standardised systems relating to the detection, detention and deportation of illegal foreign nationals in South Africa. The Minister of Home Affairs will soon explain in more detail the department’s approach on this important matter of immigration and asylum-seeker management.
“He will shed more light on South Africa’s implementation of systems for managing processes relating to asylum and undocumented migrants, among others,” said the department.
They advised all those resident in South Africa to ignore the false alarm, which they said was aimed at fuelling tensions south of the Limpopo River.
“It is in the best interest of the country for government and citizens to do all in their power together to work for stability and peace, while combating illegal migration and other crimes through lawful means,” read the statement.
Zimbabwe’s Consul-General to South Africa, Mr Batiraishe Mukonoweshuro advised people must not panic or speculate, but they should instead seek clarity from relevant authorities whenever they come across dubious reports.
“We want to urge Zimbabweans not to panic and to report any genuine incidents to authorities for further management and to stop speculation caused by false reports on social media,” he said. The Chronicle