Management of the Socioeconomic Impacts of Immigration in South Africa - a Case Study of the City of Tshwane

Masolane, Lebohang Johannes (2019-12)

Thesis (MPA)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : Migration is interwoven in the history of mankind. Indeed ours is a history of migration (Bohning, 1978:11). However the subject has recently been associated with resentment and violence, as citizens push back against the globalisation movement. Whilst immigration in particular, has become a subject of heated debates, the truth is, it is here to stay, given the increase in the “push” and “pull” factores. The world as we know it would be unimaginable without it. The history of South Africa’s development is steeped in immigration, with the country’s economy having being built on the backs of immigrants who worked on its mines following the discovery of gold deposits in Johannesburg (Modi, 2003:1759). Following the advent of democracy in 1994, however, immigration has come to be associated with violence, as citizens, frustrated with government’s failure to deliver the promised bright future, turn on the vulnerable immigrants. South Africa has benefitted immensely from immigrants, who contribute their skills in various areas from teaching to medicine (OECD/ILO, 2018:24). These benefits, however, are not so obvious to people whose lives have not changed for the better since the dawn of democracy. That South Africa has one of the highest number of immigrants in the world is undeniable, with statistics showing that it is one of the 15 countries with the highest number of immigrants in the world (Pison, 2019). The authorities have failed to implement measures to address the concerns of citizens, which range from the impact of immigration on areas such as service delivery, employment, increase in informal settlements, safety and security and social cohesion. The frustration of citizens are often expressed in violent attacks against vulnerable immigrants and looting and destruction of their properties. The City of Tshwane has seen several bouts of these attacks, with the authorities demonstrating ineptitude in addressing them. Lack of a demonstrable sustainable strategy to address the socioeconomic impacts of immigration, is threatening the stability and the economic viability of the country and the city. Implementation of policy measures is also frustrated by lack of reliable data on the number of immigrants in the country. Failure by the authorities to keep accurate data on immigration has also allowed the peddling of misinformation, which in turn feeds misperception, stereotyping and resentment. Government’s kneejerk reaction has led to scapegoating of immigrants and a failure to take advantage of the obvious benefits of immigration. Whilst formulation of immigration policy is a responsibility of national government, local government authorities cannot use this as an excuse to escape the responsibility of managing the impacts of increased immigration. Evidence shows that the City of Tshwane does not have a sustainable plan to prevent outbreaks of xenophobic violence against immigrants and to foster integration and social cohesion between citizens and immigrants (Landau & Segatti, 2011:86). Measures to manage the impacts of immigration should include changes to the country’s immigration policy, documentation and regularisation of illegal immigrants, regulation of businesses of immigrants in the townships and development of a programme to assist with the integration and settlement of immigrants in the townships to improve integration and social cohesion.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Migrasie is verweef in die geskiedenis van die mensdom. Ons geskiedenis is inderdaad 'n geskiedenis van migrasie (Bohning, 1978:11). Die onderwerp word egter onlangs geassosieer met afsku en geweld, waarburgers terugskop teen die globaliseringsbeweging. Alhoewel immigrasie veral die onderwerp van heftige debatte geword het, is die waarheid dat dit hier is om te bly, gegewe die toename in die “druk” en “trek” -faktore. Die wêreld soos ons dit ken, sou daarsonder ondenkbaar wees. Die geskiedenis van Suid-Afrika se ontwikkeling is oorvloedig met immigrasie, en die ekonomie van die land is gebou op die rug van immigrante wat op die myne gewerk het, ná die ontdekking van goudafsettings in Johannesburg (Modi, 2003:1759). Na die koms van demokrasie in 1994 het immigrasie egter met geweld gepaard gegaan, aangesien burgers, gefrustreerd met die regering se onvermoe om die beloofde toekoms te realiseer, teen die kwesbare immigrante gedraai het. Suid-Afrika het baie baat gevind by immigrante, wat deur hul vaardighede op verskillende gebiede bydra het van onderrig en medisyne (OECD/ILO, 2018:24). Hierdie voordele is egter nie so voor die handliggend vir mense wie se lewens sedert die aanbreek van demokrasie nie ten goede verander het nie. Dat Suid-Afrika een van die grootste aantal immigrante ter wêreld het kan nie ontken word nie, met statistieke wat wys dat dit een van die 15 lande is met die grootste aantal immigrante ter wêreld (Pison, 2019). Die owerhede het nie daarin geslaag om maatreëls in te stel om die kommer van burgers aan te spreek nie, wat wissel van die impak van immigrasie op gebiede soos dienslewering, indiensneming, toename in informele nedersettings, veiligheid en sekuriteit en sosiale samehorigheid. Die frustrasie van die burgers kom dikwels tot uitdrukking in gewelddadige aanvalle op kwesbare immigrante en plundering en vernietiging van hul eiendomme. Die stad Tshwane het verskeie gevalle van hierdie aanvalle gehad, terwyl die owerhede onbevoegwas om hulle aan te spreek. Gebrek aan 'n bewysbare volhoubare strategie om die sosio-ekonomiese gevolge van immigrasie aan te spreek, bedreig die stabiliteit en die ekonomiese lewensvatbaarheid van die land en die stad. Die implementering van beleidsmaatreëls word ook gefrustreer deur 'n gebrek aan betroubare data oor die aantal immigrante in die land. Versuim van die owerhede om akkurate data oor immigrasie te bekom, maak dit ook moontlik om verkeerde inligting te versprei, wat op sy beurt wanpersepsie, stereotipering en wrok gevoed het. Die regering se reaktiewe reaksie het daartoe gelei dat immigrante gesien is as die oorsaak van hul situasie is en nie hul onvermoe om van die ooglopende voordele van immigrasie gebruik te maak nie. Alhoewel die formulering van die immigrasiebeleid die verantwoordelikheid van die nasionale regering is, kan die plaaslike owerhede dit nie as 'n verskoning gebruik om die verantwoordelikheid van die bestuur van die gevolge van verhoogde immigrasie te ontsnap nie. Getuienis toon dat die stad Tshwane nie 'n volhoubare plan het om uitbrake van vreemdelingehaat teen immigrante te voorkom en om integrasie en sosiale samehorigheid tussen burgers en immigrante te bevorder nie (Landau & Segatti, 2011:86). Maatreëls om die gevolge van immigrasie te bestuur, moet veranderings insluit in die land se immigrasiebeleid, dokumentasie en reëlmatigheid van onwettige immigrante, regulering van immigrante in die woonbuurte en die ontwikkeling van 'n program om te help met die integrasie en vestiging van immigrante in die woonbuurte om integrasie en sosiale samehorigheid te bewerkstellig.

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