Africa Check debunks notion of 15 million illegal migrants in SA
Like many countries, South Africa has its share of undocumented migrants. They are often accused of being the reason why locals are unable to find employment or why the crime rate is so high.
Some have been claiming that the number of illegal immigrants in South Africa is as high as 15million, but as Cayley Clifford of Africa Check found, this number is way off the mark.
Clifford explains that after seeing hashtag #15millionillegalmigrants trending on Twitter last week AfricaCheck decided to do a check.
It is a hashtag we have seen before and we actually fact-checked it last November when it was shared by Herman Mashaba and could find no evidence to support that number.Cayley Clifford, Senior Researcher - Africa Check
Now, seeing the hashtag again three months later, AfricaCheck decided to take another look and see if anything has changed.
It is important to understand where the figure of 15 million comes from and why it is incorrect to share it as evidence of the number of undocumented migrants.Cayley Clifford, Senior Researcher - Africa Check
Clifford explains that much of the confusion arises from an article that was published in 2019 by the City Press which talks about the number of unregistered people in South Africa - so these are both citizens and residents without proof of legal identity.
The estimate [of unregistered] people is actually correct, of 15 million, it comes from the World Bank, but unregistered people are not the same as undocumented migrants.Cayley Clifford, Senior Researcher - Africa Check
What is the correct number?
It is tricky to account for every single undocumented migrant but the data that we do have gives a pretty accurate indication, for example, StatsSA estimates that there are about 3.9 million foreign-born people living in the country and this includes both documented and undocumented migrants.Cayley Clifford, Senior Researcher - Africa Check
Clifford says the United Nations puts the number of foreign-born people living in South Africa at 2.8 million.
When we pointed this out to Herman Mashaba last year he issued a statement acknowledging that the 15 million figure he had shared was incorrect.Cayley Clifford, Senior Researcher - Africa Check
Listen to the interview with Cayley Clifford in the audio below:
Source : Kgomotso Modise/EWN
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