On Monday, a group of Tshwane residents launched a week-long demonstration against undocumented immigrants living in South Africa. They were concerned that these immigrants were violating internationally recognised visa regulations and were negatively affecting the economy by not paying taxes.

By Simamkele Njo

On Monday, residents in Tshwane embarked on a week-long demonstration to express their concerns regarding the presence of undocumented immigrants in South Africa. Additionally, certain businesses have been implicated in allegations of facilitating prostitution and engaging in the illicit drug trade.

The leaders of the protest also contend that these illegal activities contribute to the already existing crime rate in South Africa.

Since the beginning of the week, unauthorised businesses operated by undocumented migrants in the vicinity of Tshwane have been forcibly closed. The demonstrators have issued warnings of mobilising additional backing to strengthen their campaign.

The protestors, claiming to be fed up, assert that undocumented immigrants operate businesses in South Africa without paying taxes. They are urging the government to address this issue because they believe it affects them negatively as legal residents.

According to Given Moraba, one of the protest leaders, South Africa should not allow undocumented illegal immigrants to establish residency within its borders without proper documentation.

“We are informing our president that we do not need these folks because they do not pay tax. They do not have passports. The problem is that they are illegal in South Africa. We must regain our employment. We must stimulate the economy. They are committing crimes, and there is a great deal of crime in South Africa at the moment.”

Kagiso Kekana, one of the organisers, declared, “We are going to make sure that Tshwane is clean… From now until the end of the week, it is. We closed a store today, and we intend to stay. We will remain here till we accomplish our objective.”

However, foreign vendors have stated that they will not be vacating the streets of Marabastad in Pretoria, where they offer a variety of products for sale.

A Zimbabwean mother of three children expressed her frustration about the challenging situation in her home country and her inability to go back. She has been living here for over five years, working hard to support her family back home.

“I feel frustrated. I’m here to support children financially. I don’t commit theft. I pay where I buy, then come here and sell. I market goods such as matimba, madoda, ntsumgu, nyemba, and nyimu. They are approaching me and advising me to return home. And things are hard at home,” she said with a sigh.

She asserts that once things return to normal in Zimbabwe, she and many others will be happy to return home of their own accord.

“We wish SA could help us rebuild the Zimbabwean economy, in which case we are prepared to leave without any resistance. When our economy improves, there won’t even be a need for us to be forced to go back home”.

Her sentiment is shared by many Zimbabweans who make a living by selling goods at Marabastad’s open market.

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