Due to its relative economic prosperity, South Africa attracts its fair share of illegal immigrants and migrant workers. Indeed of its 47 million inhabitants, it is believed that some 3-5million crafty buggers are unregistered.
South Africa is doing its best to make the month long tournament as easy for the world’s tourists to get to as possible. For those that are travelling from countries that with no official visa arrangement, the SA government is offering them a special “event visa” which, assuming they have match tickets, a place to stay and return flight, will allow them into the country. Although anyone caught overstaying their visa will be hoofed out forthwith.
Racial tensions already exist in the country – many of SA’s citizens blame illegal immigrants for much of the country’s violence and high unemployment rate. Last year some 70 people were killed in shanty-towns because the were believed to be immigrants. Yet despite this Dr Darshan Vigneswaran, a migration expert at Johannesburg’s University of Witwatersrand, says migrants will continue to arrive because entry can easily be obtained by paying a bribe at the border.
“That powder keg is still there,” said Vigneswaran. “In a year of economic downturn, as very wealthy people celebrate (the World Cup), there will be people being killed in townships for being foreigners.”
Probably best that you stay away from the townships then, folks.