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By Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Digital Deputy News Editor

Motsoaledi calls for action against those who knowingly employ illegal foreigners

Motsoaledi says guilty employers should be imprisoned or fined.

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has called for harsher sanctions against business owners who knowingly employ undocumented foreigners.

Motsoaledi, along with Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane, joined forces for a stakeholder engagement and service delivery monitoring session in Gqeberha.

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This comes after the department dispatched mobile Home Affairs trucks to various communities at the request of the provincial government, aiming to assist citizens in obtaining their documents.

Addressing the meeting, Motsoaledi advocated for sanctions against those who knowingly employ undocumented foreigners, suggested implementing by-laws to prevent them from operating businesses, and also encouraged parents to register their children to prevent cases such as that of Thabo Bester.

“Anyone who knowingly employs an illegal foreigner or a foreigner in violation of this act shall be guilty of an offence and liable, upon conviction, to a fine or imprisonment not exceeding one year. Additionally, a second conviction of such an offence shall be punishable by imprisonment not exceeding two years or a fine,” said Motsoaledi.

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“A third subsequent conviction of such an offence shall result in imprisonment not exceeding five years without the option of a fine.”

Motsoaledi also confirmed that the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) and the Department of Small Business Development were collaborating to tighten laws to prevent undocumented foreigners from operating businesses in the country.

In response to community calls to shut down spaza shops owned by illegal foreigners amid rising cases of food poisoning among children, Motsoaledi and Cogta Minister Thembi Nkadimeng co-hosted a workshop in October in Ekurhuleni.

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Attendees included Human Settlements Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi, Small Business Development Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, Salga, traditional leaders and the Border Management Authority (BMA).

According to Home Affairs, stakeholders agreed to immediate joint inspections of businesses by labour, health, trade, industry and competition, and immigration inspectorate teams to enforce compliance with applicable laws.

Furthermore, they agreed to audit spaza shops in villages and townships and to establish mechanisms for registering them with both traditional leaders and municipalities.

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There was also agreement on co-ordinating and collaborating on border law enforcement between the government, traditional and Khoi-San leaders, and the BMA, aiming to support traditional authorities in keeping records of foreign nationals in their communities.

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