Hon Chairperson, the question of illegal migration is a global problem. It should be noted that the United Nations recently reported that the increasing global number of international migrants continued to outpace the growth of the world population.
The United Nations, UN, noted that in 2019, international migrants globally reached an estimated figure of 272 million which is an increase of 51% since 2010. This
same report notes that in many parts of the world, migration occurred primarily between countries in the same region like the African continent.
A total of 88,9% of international migrants in Africa originated from other counties in our continent. These migration movements are closely associated with illegal migration. In South Africa we accept upfront that our boarders are pourers. These pourers boarders couple with a fact that we have seven organs of state performing various boarder management and mandates using different legislations makes it very difficult. Hence, we have prioritised the flexi program of establishing a boarder management authority. The Boarder Management Authority, BMA Bill as you know has been passed in this Parliament in 2017 is now in the NCOP where it's being finalised.
We as the Department of Home Affairs are hoping that this legislation will have been passed by the end of this year. As the Department of Home Affairs, we are not just folding our arms waiting for the boarder management authority.
For the first quarter of 2019, meaning April to June the immigration inspectorate undertook 43 business and industry inspections and 18 employers were prosecuted for illegal employment practices. For the second quarter, the inspectorate undertook 56 business and industry inspections and 22 illegal migrants were arrested.
The problem that the Department of Home Affairs has to content with is that people believe there is an easily identifiable and homogeneous group of people who are called undocumented migrants who are just lining up to be documented.
I wish to remind this House that when the problem of migration became worse in 2008, jumping from 53 000 to 200 000 and South Africa getting 400 000 migrants within the period of two years. Problems started to immerge.
The department tried to solve the problems, for instance by issuing permits to 279 000 Zimbabweans who were illegal that were documenting to let them stay in South Africa.
It further issued special permits to 91 000 Basotho but learned later that most of these people go into hiding when you document them because they believe the process of documenting them is a plan to remove them from the country. So it's not very easy to get the people who are called undocumented but secondly there are people that get section 22 permits, which allows them to be in South Africa for a period of 3-6 months.
That is a form of documentation but failing the refugee status; they stay in the country and cry that they have been documented. Where as they were documented for a section 22 permit but they don't qualify to be refugees in terms of the United Nations Convention of 1951 because that convention upon which our Refugee Act 1998 is based is very unambiguous. You must be coming from a country where there is war, you must persecuted on political grounds, religious grounds or sexual orientation and many people come as economic migrants but claim to be refugees. And, when they fail the master of the United Nations Convention, then the Department of Home Affairs is blamed.
We as the department expect that anybody who breaks the law whether documented or not, that becomes a criminal offence and action must be taken. Thank you very much.