The subject of migrants in various parts of the world is an emotional one, given that the issue sees the human rights of people from one country stacked up against those of the country to which they have gained, or are trying to gain, access.
Too often, because the media generally prides itself on its liberal attitudes and its commitment to the protection of human rights, it is difficult to have a rational debate about the subject of migration for fear of being labelled xenophobic.
It is interesting to see that in Europe, where migration is threatening the very political fabric of a number of countries – and was indirectly the cause of Brexit for the United Kingdom – people trying to get in from Africa and elsewhere are no longer referred to as refugees.
They are called migrants, people seeking a better life, economically, than is possible in their home countries. Unlike genuine refugees, they are not subject to persecution for political, religious or other beliefs.
That is also the case in South Africa – and it is time government acknowledged that.
The vast majority of people who are pouring into this country, over SA’s badly controlled borders, are not fleeing for their lives. They are looking for a better life. And, that being the case, they should be subject to the same rigorous requirements as any potential migrant.
They must be bringing scarce skills, or money, to this country. Otherwise, like it or not, they are just more mouths to feed, more bodies to treat and educate and more competition for already minimal jobs.
Avoiding the issue, as government continues to do, only fans the fires of hatred.
Whether we should set up migrant camps – as suggested by Congress of the People – is debatable. But what is not, is that we need stricter controls.