Operation Dudula has called for government to declare a state of emergency over illegal immigration, saying SA has a crisis that should not be ignored.
The group last week held a media briefing to outline plans to intensify its campaigns against foreign nationals.
This comes after home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi extended the validity of the Zimbabwean exemption permit (ZEP) for another six months to June 30 2023.
The ZEP was initially meant to be terminated at the end of December.
Speaking on Power 98.7, Operation Dudula spokesperson Zandile Dabula said the government was turning a blind eye to the issue of illegal immigrants.
She said the group has instructed legal practitioners led by a senior council to compel President Cyril Ramaphosa to declare a state of emergency on illegal immigration.
“Our government is rejecting us. That is why you once heard our president calling us vigilantes. That means he does not take us seriously. The issues we are raising are affecting our community members daily on the ground,” said Dabula.
“They (government) are not affected. They are living in Sandton, they are living in estates where there is high security and their fridges are full of food while our own people are suffering. We have issues with security in townships.”
Motsoaledi’s decision to extend the ZEP was met with mixed reactions.
ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba said the extension is a “mockery” of SA’s constitutional democracy.
“This indicates illegal immigration is not a priority for the home affairs ministry and poses a risk of a continued squeeze on our healthcare and social services,” he said.
Mashaba said the extension further chipped away at the autonomy of the state and its function, especially in managing the country’s borders.
He said the Immigration Act is clear that “SA belongs to South Africans”, and anyone who wishes to visit the country may do so provided they follow the correct channels and observe the country’s immigration laws.
Speaking on 702, Motsoaledi said his decision to extend the ZEP had nothing to do with the court cases against the ministry brought by organisations, including the Helen Suzman Foundation
Motsoaledi said the court battles are ongoing.
“We are sitting next month. These extensions are going ahead and we are preparing. We are defending every inch of our decision.”
According to Motsoaledi, the advisory committee that recommended the extension said the December deadline was impossible.
“When they looked at how many hours they need for each [application], their calculation brought them to the belief they need six months, and in the remaining three months it won’t happen.”