The Economic Freedom Fighters is one of the most controversial political parties in South Africa. Most South Africans disagree with the party because of their open border policy and their stance when it comes to immigration of African nationals into South Africa. However, the policy could be beneficial for the country and South Africans in the long run, but the country's economic and socioeconomic conditions of the citizens of South Africa are not ready for such policy and it's implemented.
Opening the borders for free movement of labour is believed to reduce poverty for the natives and migrants. Opening the borders is also believed to reduce inequality between countries. The idea that generally pins the policy is that people will move freely to countries where they can utilise their skills and earn better compared to their home countries. This means that South Africans would also be able to migrate freely to greener pastures. The result of this would be a contribution to the country that the immigrant would migrate to. As soon as migrants make more money, then they can send it home as remittances, while the natives of the countries which have migrants elevate to better positions of supervising and owners.
Caplan and Naik (2015) give an example of how open border policy has benefitted the USA when they opened their borders to Puerto Rico in the 1900s. This can be found in a book called The Economics of Migration by Benjamin Powell. The authors Caplan et al wrote that when the USA opened its borders to Puerto Rico, the people of that country migrated to the USA for better opportunities. There they flourished, made enough money and business connections, which allowed them to send the benefits back home and turn Puerto Rico into a better country.
The EFF advocates for a borderless Africa which will integrate the development of African countries, which they believe will benefit all people. However, South Africa is one of the biggest economies in Africa, which is now home to economic migrants who mostly come into the country illegally. Opening the border will see more economic migrants into South Africa. This would not be a problem if these same migrants did not have to compete with South Africans for resources and opportunities which have not been able to benefit all South Africans. Opening the border will therefore lead to more unrest as South Africans will fight foreign nationals for these opportunities and resources. The rife inequality in South Africa will not make things better for anyone. As we all know, inequality can also influence high levels of crime. All this we are already experiencing in South Africa.
South Africa is therefore not ready to open borders. Only when South Africans have been employed and are now in better positions, can the country open its borders. The EFF open border policy is a great idea but unfortunately not for South Africa yet.
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