Elections 2024: Political parties want foreign money and not foreign nationals

The upcoming South African election presents a stark contrast in political approaches towards foreign involvement.

While parties across the spectrum readily embrace foreign investment, their stances on foreign nationals residing within the country diverge significantly, often resorting to exclusionary rhetoric.

Among the top seven parties vying for votes, only the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has explicitly pledged to build a physical wall along the borders.

The IFP, currently polling fifth in national surveys, emphasizes “fortifying” borders through immediate military deployment and constructing walls, as stated in their manifesto.

Other parties, while not advocating for physical barriers, propose stricter immigration control measures. 

The Patriotic Alliance, for instance, emphasizes deportation of undocumented immigrants and a crackdown on businesses employing foreign nationals without proper documentation. 

Similarly, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) advocates for stricter border controls and prioritizing South African citizens in employment opportunities.

Even parties traditionally considered more moderate on immigration issues, such as the Democratic Alliance (DA), have adopted a firmer stance.

The DA proposes strengthening border security and implementing a skills-based immigration system to attract skilled foreign workers while addressing concerns about illegal immigration.

Interestingly, despite the focus on restricting the inflow of foreign nationals, there is a clear consensus among these parties regarding the importance of foreign investment for economic growth. 

The African National Congress (ANC), the ruling party, actively seeks foreign direct investment and promotes South Africa as an attractive investment destination. 

Similarly, opposition parties like the DA and the EFF acknowledge the crucial role of foreign capital in stimulating economic development.

This apparent contradiction highlights the complex dynamics surrounding immigration and economic policy in South Africa. 

While foreign investment is seen as essential for progress, anxieties regarding job security and competition for resources fuel anti-immigrant sentiments, leading to policies aimed at restricting the movement and opportunities of foreign nationals.

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