Alan Hirsch Discusses South Africa’s Migration Trends in Radio 702 Interview


The New South Institute (NSI) is proud to share key insights from a recent interview conducted with our esteemed researcher, Alan Hirsch, Director of the Migration Governance Reform in Africa Program (MIGRA), on Radio 702’s BREAKFAST show with Bongani Bingwa. This discussion offered a pivotal opportunity to disseminate findings from our latest publication, “South Africa Country Study: Migration Trends, Policy, Implementation, and Outcomes.”

In an era marked by contentious debates on migration, Hirsch’s interview shed light on the complex landscape of migration in South Africa, addressing historical contexts, policy shifts, and the current state of migration governance. Notably, Hirsch highlighted the significant changes since the 2002 Immigration Act, which sought to eliminate the discriminatory practices entrenched by the Aliens Control Act of 1911. Despite these reforms, challenges persist, particularly in the bilateral labor agreements with neighboring African countries, underscoring a systemic issue where migrant workers remain marginalized.

The interview also touched upon the dramatic increase in migrants since 1994, a topic of considerable public concern and political debate. Hirsch provided a nuanced perspective, noting that, while the official figure stands at around 3 million, representing close to 5% of the population, the perception of being overwhelmed by migrants stems more from socioeconomic pressures than actual migration statistics. This sentiment, exacerbated by stagnation in economic growth, highlights the critical need for informed policy responses that address the root causes of public discontent.

A key point of the discussion was the urgent need for reform within the Department of Home Affairs. Hirsch critiqued the department’s inefficiencies and corruption, emphasizing the necessity for substantial investment in technology and skilled personnel to restore public trust and ensure effective policy implementation.

This interview underscores the NSI’s commitment to advancing understanding and reform of migration governance in Africa. Through rigorous research and informed dialogue, the MIGRA program aims to contribute to policy debates and solutions that acknowledge the economic and social dimensions of migration.

We encourage our readers to engage with the full interview and access the “South Africa Country Study” report on the NSI website. These resources offer comprehensive insights into the challenges and opportunities within South Africa’s migration landscape, reinforcing our dedication to fostering evidence-based governance reforms in Africa.

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