Bring back pass laws, say black South Africans

Flood of unwanted immigrants could put the clock back, reports Karl Mai er from Johannesburg

Pass laws may make a comeback in Nelson Mandela's new democratic South Africa. Many black people who were victimised by them under apartheid in the past are now looking with favour on controls for immigrants.

The new targets of such measures would be the millions of African immigrants, mostly illegal, who are flooding across the borders in search of jobs and peace in South Africa's industrial heartland, the PWV region recently renamed Gauteng.

"In any country you have to control the people who are coming in," said Angie Pamaila, 28, a black liaison official at the massive Ponte building apartment complex, which has a high number of Zairean residents. "Sometimes I think we need influx control again," she said.

"The people here do not want them," Lucky Baloyi, 27, a member of a pro-ANC `self-defence unit' in Alexandra township. said. "They come here and work for low salaries and take jobs and land that the people of Alex need."

For some, control laws already appear to be force. Abdul Milazi, a journalist for the Star newspaper, was detained on 19 December for the fourth time in three months by police in Johannesburg's Hillbrow area, which has a high concentration of immigrants.

"The police stand around on street corners dressed like township tsotsis [criminals], stopping anybody they suspect to be an illegal immigrant," he wrote in the Star.

The steady stream of African immigrants turned into a torrent after President F W de Klerk's National Party government lifted the ban on the African National Congress, freed Mr Mandela from jail, and initiated negotiations which led to the country's first all-race elections last April.

Since then, thousands of Africans, and to a lesser degree Asians and Europeans, have arrived each month.

"In the past a guy living in Somalia thought that if he came to South Africa, the police would beat him or kill him," Col Bryan van Niekerk, head of the police's border control office, said.

"In 1990, with the new opening and the unbannings, we were caught with our pants down. South Africa was a closed, rigid system, and we did not really understand what was happening in the rest of Africa."

Estimates put the number of illegal immigrants at 2 million. The Department of Home Affairs said in December that it had deported 60,000 illegal aliens in two months - 50,000 from Mozambique.

Last year, illegal aliens cost the economy about £30m in housing, health care and policing, Dr Greg Mills, the Director of Studies at the South Africa Institute of International Affairs, said.

Police sources said that 8 per cent of all serious crimes were committed by illegal aliens. Up to 100 African criminal syndicates have joined dozens of Asian ones in using South Africa as a market and transit point for vehicles and drugs.

Traditionally, Mozambicans have dominated the inflow of immigrants as severe poverty and a 17-year-old civil war between Joaquim Chissano's Frelimo government and the Renamo rebel movement, which was backed by South Africa's white minority government, sent hundreds of thousands across the border.For between £30 and £60 a family could hire a guideto bring them across. Hundreds of penniless young women who made the journey were sold into slavery. Others landed jobs on white-owned farms for as little as 40

pence a day, while still others made their way to the townships around Johannesburg."Many of these people are exiled here as a result of the destabilisation policies of the South African government," Nkele Ntingane, a founder member of the civic organis ation community group in Alexandra township, said.

"In recent years, however, the composition of immigrants has changed to include arrivals from countries such as Zaire, Nigeria, and Somalia, where civil war or kleptocratic governments have ravaged the economies. Many bring skills which black South Africans do not have."

With South Africans increasingly anxious that Mr Mandela's African National Congress led-government fulfill their expectations of the April elections by improving job prospects, housing, and health care, prejudice against immigrants is growing.

But many observers believe illegal immigrants are used merely as scapegoats.

"The white-controlled economic of South Africa was developed largely through African labour from Mozambique, Lesotho etc," Herbert Vilakazi, professor of sociology at the University of Zululand, wrote in the Star.

"It is ironic that we now tend to regard Africans from these states as aliens."Checking the trend will take years. It cannot be stopped simply by stepped-up patrols by the police and army on South Africa's massive borders, said Col van Niekerk.

"It is very much like the American problem with the Mexican immigrants," he said.

News
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.
peopleThe idea has been greeted enthusiastically by the party's MPs
News
Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
people
Voices
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012
voicesAnd nobody from Ukip said babies born to migrants should be classed as migrants, says Nigel Farage
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
art
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
Arts and Entertainment
Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
tvReview: It's gripping edge-of-the-seat drama, so a curveball can be forgiven at such a late stage
News
Brazilian football legend Pele pictured in 2011
peopleFans had feared the worst when it was announced the Brazil legand was in a 'special care' unit
News
i100(More than you think)
Sport
Brendan Rodgers seems more stressed than ever before as Liverpool manager
FOOTBALLI like Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
News
The Magna Carta
archaeologyContemporary account of historic signing discovered
News
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
Sport
Benjamin Stambouli celebrates his goal for Tottenham last night
FOOTBALL
Life and Style
Dishing it out: the head chef in ‘Ratatouille’
food + drinkShould UK restaurants follow suit?
News
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - OOP, Javascript, HTML, CSS, SQL

£39000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - OOP, Javascript, HTML,...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial / Residential Property - Surrey

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: SURREY MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Programme - Online Location Services Business

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: What do you want to do with your career? Do yo...

Recruitment Genius: Senior QC Scientist

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company is a leading expert in immunoassa...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game