Foreign migrant influx straining Gauteng’s resources – govt report

Protesters march through Pretoria during the Foreign March where South Africans from different areas protested against illegal immigrants on February 24, 2017. Picture: Gallo Images

The problem is attributed to porous borders where illegal migrants cross, and they then place huge strain on services and infrastructure.

A government report has suggested that beside a battle with limited resources, an influx of international migrants has put further strain on Gauteng’s services.

The report found that Gauteng was not only saddled with having to accommodate internal migrants from the rest of the country, but it was getting overwhelmed by an influx of international migrants who have to depend on its health and education resources.26

The scathing report is a joint investigation by the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) and Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) into the impact of migration on service delivery in Gauteng.

The probe found that 47% of international migrants settled in Johannesburg without valid documentation and placed a strain on its limited resources.

Gauteng’s population is known to increase at the highest rate in the country due to an influx of migrants from other provinces and foreign immigrants into urban areas including squatter camps.

The contents of the investigation were revealed by Charity Moyo, spokesperson for the Democratic Alliance (DA) Gauteng premier candidate Solly Msimanga’s campaign.

“This is placing a huge strain on the city’s infrastructure, as well as services such as education and healthcare,” Moyo said.

She said the influx of foreign migrants resulted in the province’s schools struggling to absorb the increasing number of applicants yearly.

Moyo further revealed that Gauteng needed approximately 142 new schools to deal with the current demand – a number which does not take into consideration the yearly influx of new students into the province.

The report, which followed a joint visit by a group from the two institutions, found that Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital was the worst affected by the situation.

The problem was attributed to the porous borders where illegal migrants crossed and when they fell ill inside the country, they became a burden on the Gauteng health system – which was already crippled.

Moyo said uncontrolled immigration was putting a strain on Gauteng resources like the hospital, because migrants were unable to pay for their bills while the healthcare facilities were not enough to cater for additional patients.

“The hospital is forced to house undocumented foreign patients at a cost of R4 500 a day.

“Most of these patients are also unable to pay their outstanding bills.

“In the 2017/18 financial year, the Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital had to write off about R1 billion due to unsettled debt,” Moyo said.

“It is clear that South Africa can ill afford not to secure its borders as uncontrolled immigration is violating the rights of the ordinary residents of this province who have to compete for services.

“This problem has been compounded by the widespread corruption within the department of home affairs which has led to an immigration system failure.”

Moyo accused the ANC government of being incapable of ensuring law and order, rooting out corruption and managing the real problems that Gauteng faced, instead of only caring about enriching themselves.

“This is not what we were promised. We need leadership and change capable of ensuring equal access to opportunities for all South Africans,” Moyo said.

“The DA will fight corruption, fix the police force to be honest and professional, create fair access to real and long-term jobs, secure our borders and speed up the delivery of basic services.”

The permanent delegates of the NCOP and members of the provincial legislature visited service delivery sites in Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg, Tshwane and the West Rand district municipality from September 17 to 21.

The visits were in preparation for the upcoming “Taking Parliament to the People” programme expected to take place in November and were held under the theme “Impact of migration – deepening cooperative governance for accelerated service delivery and development”.

The NCOP said the information acquired during the preliminary visits and public meetings would be compiled and submitted to the executives in all three spheres of government for their interventions prior to the parliamentary session due in Gauteng in November.

A statement from parliament read: “This is one of the flagship programmes of the legislatures through which they exercise oversight on the executive, while also promoting citizen participation in governance.”

ericn@citizen.co.za

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