Fact check: Are there really 11 million undocumented migrants in SA?

Fact check: Are there really 11 million undocumented migrants in SA?

- Police minister Bheki Cele and national police commissioner Khehla Sitole claim there are about 11 million undocumented and therefore illegal migrants in South Africa

- This figure has been questioned by demographic experts who point out such a large number doesn’t make sense

- Researchers at the University of Cape Town believe the true figure is closer to one and three million

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Police minister Bheki Cele and national police commissioner Khehla Sithole recently revealed that there were about 11 million undocumented and therefore illegal migrants in South Africa. Cele made the claim as he was explaining that a population boom meant the country was in dire need of more police officers in order to combat crime more effectively.

Cele explained that South Africa’s official population had grown by nearly 3.5 million people in seven years and that was not including the 11 million undocumented migrants who live in the country.

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Wildly varying figures of anywhere from three to sixteen million undocumented migrants have been quoted by various quarters over the years, this has to an extent helped the long-held belief by many South Africans that the country is being overrun by foreigners.

Briefly.co.za gathered that the figure quoted by Cele and Sithole has been questioned by demographic and migration experts who point out that 11 million is a huge number which doesn’t make any logical sense.

Eyewitness News reported that the director of the Centre for Actuarial Research at the University of Cape Town (UCT) Tom Moultrie told AfricaCheck.org that it made no logical or common sense to think that such a vast number of people would not have formed part of census data.

Moultrie believes the data used by Cele and the department of home affairs was obtained by using outdated border entry forms. He added that the forms only tell half of the story because the forms don’t account for when people leave the country.

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Moultrie said he believes the true number of undocumented migrants currently in the country is much much lower and estimates it would be somewhere between one and three million people.

The last official census took place in 2011 and part of the questionnaire was listing a person’s country of birth. The results revealed that 2.2 million people were not South African by birth.

The 2016 community survey asked the same question and researchers were left shocked and baffled when the number dropped to 1.6 million.

Statistics SA has launched a probe into the unexpected discrepancy but the results have yet to be released. The organisation has already admitted that it expects to find a serious flaw in the manner which the survey was conducted.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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