Statement by Minister Gigaba on a partnership with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM)

In October this year, we announced the nomination process for the second annual Mkhaya Migrants Awards that will be held on 11 December 2016. We will be announcing the venue at a later stage.

When we launched these Awards on Africa Day in 2015, we emphasized the point that one of the key objectives is to foster closer working relations with stakeholders in South Africa, the African continent and indeed with our international partners globally. This we do as we seek to achieve one of the critical cornerstones of the Mkhaya Migrants Awards, that of promoting a democratic, united and prosperous society where citizens, residents and migrantss coexist in a peaceful and harmonious manner.

Ladies and gentlemen, kindly allow me to briefly outline the importance of the Mkhaya Migrants Awards. Through this initiative, we commit ourselves to building a unified, inclusive and caring South African society and with these awards we will continue to honour and recognise outstanding migrants, residing in South Africa, who make an immense contribution to South Africa's development in their various fields of expertise; and acknowledge and celebrate South Africans who live beyond our country's borders, contributing to the development of the African continent through their work in areas of need, all across the globe.

To this end, we have partnered with the International Organisation for Migration, the IOM, to run an essay and multimedia competition for young people at institutions of higher learning whoa are between the ages of 18 and 30. These young people should have a broad and extensive understanding of the concept of social cohesion, in particular the South African context. These participants will be required to write a 1000 words essay or present a multimedia project on the topic: 'WHY SOCIAL COHESION IS IMPORTANT IN OUR COUNTRY'.

Held under the theme: Migrants' contribution to our communities, country and continent, we believe that the competition further advances government's vision as enshrined in the National Development Plan as a cultural activity where it is boldly stated that cultural activities and art can also play a major role in facilitating the sharing of common spaces. In addition art can foster values and facilitate dialogue and healing, thus restoring pride among African, Indian and Coloured South Africans. The country must support and encourage the production of art work and stories that facilitate healing, nation building and dialogue.

Fittingly, together with the IOM, we underpin our belief in how we envision that the occasion will reflect the aims of the African Union in its visionary document Agenda 2063, which details the African continent's development trajectory for the next fifty years. The AU states that the document is a call for action to all segments of African society to work together to build a prosperous and united Africa based on shared values and a common destiny. It aims to help direct Africa's growth in such a way that its resources and its people develop in a fair and equitable manner, that guarantees unity, peace and prosperity for all its citizens.

As articulated during the launch of the Green Paper on International Migration enjoins us, as the Department of Home Affairs, to balance the primary imperatives of economic development, national security, international and constitutional obligations.

All of these are interlinked and mutually reinforcing.

Our economic competitiveness, and status as a leading destination in Africa for trade, tourism and investment, is enhanced by the security and stability that domestic and international actors rely on. People feel safe here, and so they feel comfortable trading, spending, working and investing here. Similarly, contributing to the economic development of our region and continent as a whole, in line with our long standing, Africa-oriented foreign policy, is in our enlightened self-interest.

I have always held a belief that our young people are the key enablers of the social cohesion programme. In this regard, the partnership with IOM fits into our narrative to build healthy and prospering communities. We need to cultivate a culture of sustained dialogue and partnership action with immigrants within our communities. Government has championed the policy of integration and it is we have to find it within ourselves to ensure that, as Home Affairs, we ensure those immigrants who find themselves amongst us, are well integrated and feel a sense of belonging.

In relation to the competition, ten finalists will be announced at the actual Mkhaya Migrants Awards where they will be presented with their prizes. Furthermore, the finalists will win an all-expenses paid trip to the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia in 2017.

Interested candidates can send an email to in the subject line: Why is social cohesion important in our country.

The closing date for entries is Wednesday, 30 November 2016 and entries must include the entrant's name and surname, the institution where they are currently studying as well as their contact details.

The AU has been identified as an appropriate place for winners to visit, since it is the place where African governments make decisions on the continent's political, economic and social future.

We look forward to a fruitful relationship with the IOM as we build an inclusive society.

I thank you.

Source: Government of South Africa