The cessation of the infamous status as a pariah state and the break into the dawn of democracy, the Republic of South Africa (rsa) saw an upsurge in the presence of illegal immigrants in the country



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Date20.07.2022
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The cessation of the infamous status as a pariah state and the break into the dawn of democracy, the Republic of South Africa (RSA) saw an upsurge in the presence of illegal immigrants in the country. The immigrants came from many parts of the world, including Africa, with the majority coming from the unstable Southern African Development Region (SADC). As a regional hegemon, South Africa promised better economic prospects and a better life comparable to the rest of other SADC states. Not only did South Africa promise economic betterment, the state’s constitution with its created institutions aimed at strengthening its constitutional democracy guaranteed to uphold human rights and respect human dignity. The illegal immigration phenomenon appealed mostly to unskilled individuals who did not possess scarce and critical skills to contribute to the economy as a required precondition by the relevant immigration legislation for granting immigrant status. This is unlike regularized immigration which mostly attracts specialized skills required to bolster the economy. For continued sustenance, illegal immigrants compete with locals for menial jobs and in the informal sector in an already ailing economy, renowned for its highest inequality in the world. Illegal immigrants are also known for the commission of survivalist crimes, making it increasingly difficult for the security services to trace wrongdoers and effectively secure critical infrastructure and communities from such threats. Together, the competition for scarce resources and the commission of the crimes entrench poverty and increase national insecurity. The insecurity occurs as an expanding poor class is created and further inequality deepens. Consequently, human development; progress; peace and stability are further compromised. The escalation of the illegal immigration challenge has preoccupied the collective attention of some interest groups in the broader society. The interest groups have raised concerns about the breach of the social contract by the state in so far as government’s lack of efficacious interventions to resolve the illegal immigration challenge. The non-resolution of the challenge has resulted in waning public trust in state institutions and their capacity. In some isolated incidences, concerned groups have sought to perform the state’s function of ridding their communities of suspected illegal immigrants. Such actions have led to clashes between locals and non-nationals resulting in social upheavals. Social instability borne out of such rivalry carries the potential of creating a negative sentiment which can blacken the image of the state as unstable to attract foreign direct investment (FDI). Embedded in FDI are employment opportunities which ensure that development; peace; stability and progress take root. Such a desired state of financial investments could ensure that South Africa is progressively working towards the achievement of national security. Leaders and the higher management echelon in government have to take meaningful strides and interventions through diplomatic means while enforcing immigration laws to effectively honour the state’s responsibility to protect citizens and maintain national security.
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