The City of Johannesburg has promised to clamp down on the hijacked buildings that are plaguing the central business district. Executive mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba has said that the majority of people living in these buildings are foreigners and they are not the problem of local government.
His stance is that South Africans should be put first and that his department is not responsible for proving shelter for foreigners - whether they are documented or not. Mkuseli Apleni, Director General at Home Affairs responded, saying statements like that promote xenophobia.
We don't differentiate between a foreign national or a South African. That's why statements like that promote the issue of xenophobia. Because statements like that start to differentiate people.— Mkuseli Apleni, Director General at Home Affairs
Apleni says that according to the Constitution, once someone is in the country legally, they have to be provided for legally. Thus it is the responsibility of providing shelter to legal foreign nationals should be look at, not ignored.
People who are in the country illegally are also protected by the constitution according to Apleni. He says that if they are caught they should be arrested and deported - nothing more.
Let's say I was a foreign national. I am here, I am working in a particular area, I need to get a flat which I will pay rent for - what's wrong with that?— Mkuseli Apleni, Director General at Home Affairs
When it comes to the campaign against hijacked buildings, Apleni says the Department of Home Affairs are working with the city. They are dealing with the issue of illegal foreigners.
Despite the claims Home Affairs asked investigating entities to stop arresting illegal foreigners due to space constraints, Apleni assures us that they will continue to arrest and deport those who should not be here.
Listen to the full interview below: