Hanekom on foreigners in SA: 'The problem is poverty and unemployment'

Former minister of tourism Derek Hanekom.
Former minister of tourism Derek Hanekom.
Image: Russell Roberts

Former tourism minister Derek Hanekom says SA's biggest problem is poverty and unemployment, not foreigners.

Hanekom, who shared his views on SA's visa laws, said he found it difficult to understand why African citizens needed a visa to visit the country.

Responding to a Twitter user, who asked why “anyone” needed to obtain a visa to enter the country, he said foreigners entering SA did not pose a security risk, adding that the biggest problem was poverty and unemployment.

“Visa exemption for Russian tourists to SA was granted three years ago. Immediate, dramatic increase in tourist arrivals. Did it pose a security risk? Of course not. Our biggest security risk is poverty and unemployment.”

Hanekom's comments are in contrast to calls to reinforce the nation's borders against illegal immigrants.

TimesLIVE reported that at least 600 people were taken in by police earlier this month after a raid in the Johannesburg CBD uncovered counterfeit goods and undocumented immigrants.

Gauteng premier David Makhura vowed to retaliate against foreigners who attacked police, saying operations in the area would intensify.

He said crime against South Africa would never be tolerated.