S. African minister warns political leaders against blaming refugees for poor governance

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, October 19, 2018
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CAPE TOWN, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba said on Friday that some political leaders tend to blame asylum seekers, refugees and immigrants for their service delivery failures and lack of vision and capacity.

The minister made the remarks on the occasion of re-opening the Port Elizabeth Refugee Reception Office in Eastern Cape Province.

He apparently was referring to a growing trend in South Africa where refugees have been targeted in recent xenophobia-inspired attacks.

Some politicians have blamed refugees for taking up the jobs that should have been taken by locals.

"We must ensure that we do not fall into the temptation seen in too many societies of blaming refugees for pre-existing problems," Gigaba said.

South Africa remains committed to protecting refugees and strengthening our institutional arrangements in this regard, Gigaba said.

South Africa, he said, is in the process of updating its policies and regulations with regard to international migration and refugees.

He denied allegations that South Africa is faced with a refugee problem.

"We have been clear over the years that South Africa does not have a refugee problem," the minister noted.

South Africa hosts a manageable number of refugees who reside in safety in the country, among fellow South Africans, said Gigaba.

In terms of dealing with refugees, South Africa has made improvements in reducing the number of unfounded applications particularly by economic migrants and in speedy adjudication of asylum claims, he said.

It is important that municipalities enforce their by-laws instead of taking populist cheap-shots at the national government, stoking the fires of xenophobia and undermining much needed human and African solidarity, as well as social cohesion, Gigaba said.

South Africa, which was ranked among one of the highest asylum seeker destinations in the world between 2008 and 2015, has recently introduced the White Paper on International Migration that seeks to manage a secure and efficient cross-border movement of people, goods and conveyance.

"We remain steadfast as a country in our commitment to host and protect refugees," Gigaba affirmed.

South Africa will always rise to the occasion in supporting Africans and others in distress, and partner with its sister countries in addressing the root causes of that distress, he said. Enditem

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