CAPE TOWN, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) -- South Africa has deported more than 10,000 undocumented foreign nationals in the first six months of 2019, the government said on Tuesday amid a new spate of xenophobic violence that gripped parts of the country.
These deportations happen regularly, following the prescribed legal processes, the government said in a statement issued by the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster of Ministers (JCPSCM).
In the same period South Africa has charged 1,048 employers for breaching immigration laws and more than half of these were in Gauteng Province, according to the statement.
"With regards to hiring of undocumented foreign nationals, we will clamp down on private business owners who do not abide by the labor and immigration laws," the statement said.
The Department of Home Affairs (DHA), along with the Department of Labor and police, will intensify inspections, said the statement.
The DHA is preparing to implement the pilot phase Border Management Authority (BMA) bill soon after the bill has been finalized through Parliament, the statement said.
The BMA is designed to improve the security of South Africa's borderline and facilitate easier movement of people and goods through the ports of entry.
South Africa is host to some 274,000 refugees and asylum-seekers, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Foreigners are blamed for taking up employment that should have been taken by locals. This has led to frequent clashes between foreigners and locals.
In recent days, new xenophobia-related violence erupted again in parts of the country, in which foreigners came under attacked and foreign-owned shops were looted.
At least 12 people have been killed, 10 of them South Africans and two foreign nationals, according to the latest official figures.
But the government on Tuesday denied that foreigners were being targeted in the latest spate of violence.
Evidence presented to the JCPSCM has not shown that foreign nationals were being targeted because of their nationality, the government.
"We have noted with concern that the incidents of lawlessness have been characterized as xenophobic attacks," the government said.
South Africa is not a xenophobic country, the government said, adding that whoever is found on the wrong side of the law will be dealt with.
The government acknowledged however that hundreds of foreign nationals took refuge at police stations after coming under attack.
Processes are underway of offering humanitarian assistance as well as to reintegrate the foreigners back into the communities, said the government.