‘Foreign nationals can’t be a nuisance in our country’: Government insists ‘SA comes first’

‘Foreign nationals can’t be a nuisance in our country’: Government insists ‘SA comes first’

More than 2,700 immigrants linked to illegal mining arrested

By citizen.co.za

JOHANNESBURG: The Justice Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster has issued a stern warning to foreign nationals who come to South Africa to commit crime.

On Friday, Defence and Military Veterans Minister Thandi Modise, Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, Justice Minister Ronald Lamola and Police Minister Bheki Cele briefed the media on the progress the JCPS cluster has made in efforts to combat organised crime.

‘SA comes first’

Modise warned that foreign nationals will be dealt with harshly if they break the law in South Africa.

“I don’t think it is our job as ministers to protect the image of other countries when ours is going to the tatters because other people are coming in and disregarding and disrespecting our laws within our own borders.

“Therefore, we should take a hard stance against any foreign national who comes into this country with the sole intention of breaking the law,” she said.

“If South Africans go into any country [and] they rape, [or] they steal, [or] they kill, then they must be dealt with as harshly as the citizens of that country and we shall do the same. I don’t think that we should be nice about it… we will continue to engage the other countries, but South Africa comes first,” Modise continued.

The defence minister revealed earlier that more than 2,700 immigrants linked to illegal mining have been arrested.

The suspects are from Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Nigeria, Kenya, Pakistan and Uganda.

“If I am being neighbourly to a neighbour from another country and that neighbour destroys my country, then I have a responsibility to protect my own dignity and the dignity of my country. That’s why we are saying to South Africans, please make sure you are not aiding and abetting what destroys your own country,” Modise added.

Watch the briefing below:

‘Countries of origin must take responsibility’

Meanwhile, Ntshavheni told reporters Home Affairs was building up capacity in order to deport illegal immigrants since funds have been allocated to the department.

“In addition, Home Affairs has already acquired 10 buses to do the work of the deportations, more especially for those who are in neighbouring countries,” she said.

The minister stressed that the relevant countries needed to take responsibility for their own citizens who commit crimes in South Africa and that’s why some countries were mentioned by name.

READ MORE: Home Affairs to amend Immigration Act after ‘scathing’ ConCourt judgment

“Unless we mention it in public space, those countries will not know [what is happening].

“It also allows those countries to take action against their own and that is part of our responsibility to make sure that the neighbouring countries and other countries [are aware], because it is not limited to neighbouring countries.

For instance, the Pakistanis are here and they are a problem in terms of the criminal syndicates, and they cannot be a nuisance in our country so their countries of origin must take responsibility.

“When [the foreign nationals] are illegal, we will deal with them through deportation, but we also want to deal with them before they become a problem,” Ntshavheni concluded.

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