ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba expresses sympathy for the Zimbabweans who have died trying to cross the Limpopo River into South Africa.
But he refuses to apologise for making sure that anyone who enters the country illegally is sent back immediately.
In an exclusive interview with Scrolla.Africa on Tuesday, Mashaba said the problems in Zimbabwe cannot be solved at the expense of South Africa.
He said SA must concentrate on facing its own challenges, including high unemployment.
Mashaba, who has been vocal on the issue of migration, made it clear that South Africa welcomes all foreigners in the country, as long as they come with legal documents using proper channels.
“The issue of illegal foreigners in South Africa is not only about Zimbabweans,” he said.
“We have people from all over the world coming into our country who don’t have legal papers.”
He said what is happening at the Beit Bridge border, where there has been a huge influx of Zimbabweans, is unfortunate and it makes him angry.
Mashaba put the blame of the Zim situation on the ruling Zanu-PF, which he claimed was supported by the ANC government as it led Zimbabwe into the crisis it is facing at the moment.
He supports Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, who visited the Beit Bridge border last week, and spent two days in Limpopo to make sure illegal immigrants are not allowed into the country.
He said he will support local organisations calling for economic inclusion by demanding the deportation of illegal foreign nationals, as long as they do so within the confines of the law.
Asked about people who describe him as the “Donald Trump of South Africa,” Mashaba called such comments nonsense. He said people who call him Donald Trump or accuse him of being xenophobic are diverting attention away from the “genuine issues” facing SA.
“If we allow everyone into the country, South Africa would face a humanitarian crisis due to shortages of resources.”
Mashaba added that South Africans who have entered other countries illegally should also be arrested and sent back.
He stressed that those foreign nationals who are legally in South Africa, and are contributing to economic growth, are not a problem.