SA urged to use immigrants

illegal_workers_diamond_mineJOHANNESBURG - A senior member of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) has urged the Jacob Zuma-led government to follow the lead of other countries by enacting laws aimed at ensuring that the millions of foreign nationals living in South Africa contribute more towards the improvement of the countrys economy.

Government records made available to The Zimbabwean on Sunday last week estimate that Zimbabweans make up about 3.5 million of the total 7 million immigrants currently living in South Africa and that most of them are in the country illegally.

The records also show that more than 1 million immigrants, who fled a civil war in Mozambique which eventually ended in 1992, have made South Africa their home.

ANC political education chief, Tony Yengeni, said history had shown that countries such as France were able to successfully harness the skills of African nationals and that this had significantly contributed to the growth of the countrys economy.

History has proven how immigrants can boost the businesses in particular countries. They also enrich national culture in host countries. We should be looking at ways in which these millions of foreigners can make a significant contribution to the country, he added.

As the government tackles some of the problems caused by illegal foreigners, it is important to look at the causes of migration because this is where the answers can be found.

Some NGOs in South Africa have called upon the government to grant two-year temporary South African identification documents (IDs) to skilled foreigners so that they are able to contribute to the national treasury through tax.

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