One of the main reasons for anti-immigration sentiment in SA is the confusion within the government on where the state stands on the issue. Anti-immigrant posturing now seems certain to play a significant role in the 2019 national and provincial elections. The ANC government was first off the mark with its 2017 white paper on international migration. The document recognised that skilled migration is essential for economic growth, but its broader message was that high border fences and detention centres for asylum seekers are needed to protect the country from a “flood” of unskilled migrants. In September the National Council of Provinces and the Gauteng provincial legislature joined forces to present anecdotal evidence about the “swamping” of Gauteng’s health, education and policing systems by an “influx” of irregular cross-border migrants. The DA’s Jacques Julius this week threw himself into the anti-immigrant quagmire, blaming “porous borders” and a “collapse” of the immigration s...

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