13 December 2018
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen of the media. Thank you for joining us today and for helping us to spread the word about the work that the thousands of Home Affairs officials are doing to facilitate the ease of movement of people and goods.
Facilitating seamless traveller movements is one of the key contribution this Department can make in the effort to boost economic growth and attract investment, as outlined by President Cyril Ramaphosa. We have to do our work while we ensure that our borders are secured.
These movements are crucial for our economic growth as they have a direct impact on tourism, trade and investment.
I have chosen to start my monitoring of the operations at the ports of entry here at the OR Tambo International Airport because this is our busiest port.
For instance, over 1.49 million traveller movements were recorded here three years ago. This figure has since grown to 1.52 million and 1.57 million in the subsequent years.
In the coming days, I shall be visiting other ports of entry and I look forward to interacting with officials and travellers.
The Department has already deployed all the additional 425 staff to the ports of entry to help deal with the anticipated increase in traveller movements over this period. Our ports of entry started operating for extended hours on 05 December 2018 and these times will remain until 09 January 2019.
Earlier this morning, during the monitoring visit, I interacted with some of these additional staff members and those who are based here on a full time basis. I reminded them that it is important that they continue to make travellers feel the warm spirit of Ubuntu the moment they step onto our shores.
At the beginning of this month, we relaxed some international travel requirements for children going through South African ports of entry.
The key change is that children under 18 will no longer be required to present their Birth Certificates on entry and departure but they are advised to carry these documents. Immigration officials may request these documents in certain instances.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am also returning from leading South Africa’s participation at the United Nations (UN) Conference on the Compact on Migration which was held in Marrakech, Morocco. This conference took forward discussions on the UN Global Compact for safe, orderly and regular migration. The Global Compact gives effect to the 2016 UN General Assembly commitment of Heads of States and Government, of creating a framework for a comprehensive international agreement and cooperation on migrants and human mobility with respect to human rights and fundamental freedoms.
South Africa continues to take her place in the global discussions on the management of international migration because this is not a matter that can be resolved by Governments alone. Successful management of migration requires strong international cooperation and partnerships with all relevant stakeholders, including non-government actors.
Our Government is committed to the implementation of the global agenda on Sustainable Development. International migration is one of the most important policy issues of our life time with huge political, economic, social and humanitarian implications. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development pays particular attention to the people, planet and prosperity. It recognises the positive contribution migration makes, if properly managed, to inclusive growth and development.
In recognition of the nexus between migration and development, South Africa, adopted the White Paper on International Migration in March 2017, following wide consultations with all relevant stakeholders nationally and at regional level.
We are committed to embracing international migration for development while guarding the core principles of national sovereignty, peace and security.
South Africa is committed to working with other African countries and like-minded nations to ensure that migration will be a choice instead of a necessity - as it is currently the case.
For migration to be a choice, the root causes of involuntary migration, such as underdevelopment which manifest itself through inequality, poverty and unemployment have to be fully and comprehensively addressed. In this regard, we urge the international community to collectively commit to address the fundamental root causes of forced migration as proclaimed in the New York Declaration. Moreover, it is important that predictable and sustainable resources be availed in order to advance the fundamental principles of international cooperation as well as burden and responsibility sharing, consistent with the level of development of states, as enunciated in the New York Declaration.
This past week, leaders representing about 150 nations signed the Global Compact. The UN estimates that there are 258 million migrants throughout the world, 50 million of whom are children. The UN also estimates that in 2017, migrants sent US$450 billion in remittances to developing nations. Migrants are said to be spending 85% of their earnings in their host countries.
South Africa is a developing country that accepts the Global Compact as a voluntary tool to guide implementation at national level. We are a democratic and open society in which Government is based on the will of the people.
In this regard, we are currently in the process of consulting with all relevant national stakeholders on the Compact and its implications, particularly with regard to the imperatives of the National Development Plan, which is our blue print for socio-economic development to address the triple challenges of inequality, unemployment and poverty. The outcomes of this consultations will inform our final position at the forthcoming meeting on 19 December 2018 in New York.
As we celebrate 100 years of the lives of Tata Nelson Mandela and Mama Albertina Sisulu, let us show solidarity and promote core values of peace, democracy, reconciliation, human rights, dignity, justice, rule of law and good governance.
Thank you
Siya Qoza, 082 898 1657 (spokesperson for the Minister of Home Affairs)
David Hlabane, 071 342 4284 (media manager for the Department of Home Affairs)
Issued by the Department of Home Affairs on 13 December 2018