South Africa will never support the approach US President Donald Trump has adopted in relation to immigrants, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said.
“We think it is going to compound relations between the US and Mexico, and that America will suffer severely,” Gigaba said at a media briefing in Pretoria yesterday.
The minister said Trump’s intervention, though seemingly credible to a narrow-minded person, would cost the US dearly in terms of economic and financial resources.
Trump had angered Latin America, perplexed economists and energised his national political base by vowing to build a wall along the US frontier and making Mexico pay for it. He also said Britons with dual nationality with Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen would be stopped at the US border for the next 90 days.
“We can only hope it does not lead to any physical conflict between the two countries because it would have dire consequences,” Gigaba said.
“Not only for them, but also for the neighbours and other countries.”
The minister said South Africa supported the principal of free movement and a borderless Africa, but believed it should be implemented gradually by all countries working together.
“No country can have free movement, while others are not playing their part.”
Gigaba said the applications for the Lesotho Special Permit (LSP) process of properly documenting and regularising the stay of the Basotho people in South Africa for work, study or business, had run its course.
A total of 127 048 online applications were submitted, though only 88 563 Basotho nationals had completed the application process.
According to Gigaba, 31 019 permits had so far been collected. But he cautioned his department would only know how many application were unsuccessful after the LSP process had been “fully completed”.
The department had also provided amnesty to Basothos who had obtained South African documents fraudulently, saying their deportation had been suspended when allowing them to apply for the LSP.
Qualification for the permit excluded those with criminal convictions.
The moratorium to suspend deportations would be lifted on March 31. “Those who had paid by December 31, but have not completed the application process by March 31, will be deported,” Gigaba said.