The DA has noted reports today that President Cyril Ramaphosa has committed to opening South African borders to facilitate the free movement of people, goods and services from continental Africa.
Although this is a great initiative to strengthen regional integration and economic growth across our continent, the DA calls on the President to ensure that this process is properly planned and done in a sustainable and secure manner.
We have a massive shortage of skills in the country, yet we make it extremely difficult to attract the necessary skills from other countries into South Africa.
This move must ensure that skilled people from across the continent are attracted to fill this skills gap and to open up opportunities for local professionals and entrepreneurs.
In light of the challenges currently facing the control of illegal immigration and in order for the President’s proposed African Continental Free Trade Agreement to be successful, the Department of Home Affairs must prioritise the following:
- secure our borders and fix our fence, making it almost impossible for people to enter the country illegally;
- make it as easy as possible for those who wish to enter legally, with an emphasis on skilled workers; and
- take stronger sanctions for people who employ immigrants illegally.
The DA has always been committed to free trade and ensuring economic opportunities for our continent, however, this must take place in a well-regulated system.