The Gauteng Township Economic Development Bill aims to promote local economic development in designated townships by creating and facilitating the creation of viable township businesses. The Bill establishes a Development Fund whose economic benefits and incentives are strictly reserved for citizens and permanent residents only.
The Bill would prohibit most non-citizens from large swathes of economic activity.
“This would include documented non-citizens like asylum seekers and refugees most of whom are not eligible for social assistance. It might prevent many non-citizens from making a living and could leave many destitute and homeless,” the ICJ Africa Director Kaajal Ramjathan-Keogh said.
“The Bill might also fuel existing xenophobic sentiment and could result in recurrences of xenophobic violence. Courts in South Africa have repeatedly warned government officials and departments against conduct that risks perpetuating xenophobia.”
If this Bill were to be enacted, South Africa would fall short of its requirements under both national and international law.
The ICJ has thus submitted their comments to the Gauteng Provincial Government, which you can find below.