The Democratic Alliance's Gauteng premier candidate Solly Msimanga on Tuesday led a picket in the Pretoria central business district (CBD), calling for a bigger budget allocation for the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to tighten the country's borders and curb illegal immigration.
Msimanga said he has been informed that some of the criminals wreaking havoc in South Africa are foreign nationals with military training from their countries of origin.
"One of the intelligence personnel said the way that some of these armed robberies were coordinated, it's clearly not from people who are from within the South African border. It's people who have received military training from outside of South Africa. If you don't know who is coming into your country, how do you stop some of these kind of things going forward," Msimanga addressed a crowd of picketers outside the defence department.
"[Gauteng Premier] David Makhura when we started to raise this issue of securing our borders, he said we are xenophobic. The people of South Africa are now reacting because they are not seeing a government that is acting on these things. The people are saying we will act because the government is failing to act."
Msimanga was accompanied by his DA colleagues Phumzile Van Damme and Jacques Julius.
South Africa has recently been rocked by attacks on foreign nationals, particularly in KwaZulu-Natal. Hundreds of Malawians affected by the violence have opted to return to their home country. The violence affected immigrants from the African continent.
On Tuesday, Msimanga said currently the SANDF does not have the adequate capacity and resources to man South Africa's vast borderline. He said once inside the country, some foreign nationals bribe members of the South African Police Service to remain in the country.
"Where we are sitting, for instance in Yeoville, Hillbrow [areas in Johannesburg] it is alleged that police are actually receiving bribes not to detain undocumented foreign nationals. That is again government failing to do what needs to be done. That is why people end up feeling they need to do something because government is failing to do something," said Msimanga.
"Lindela [Repatriation Centre] as it stands right now it's almost empty. The question is if we are having so many undocumented people in South Africa, why are we not making sure that those that do not qualify here, in a humane manner, are returned to their countries of origin? Those that qualify, and can be assisted in getting documentation should be assisted."
He said at some borderlines, foreign nationals "come in and shop, and walk out again".
Msimanga said he was not xenophobic against fellow Africans.