President Jacob Zuma was speaking at the official launch of the newly revamped Desmond Tutu Refugee Reception Centre in Marabastad in Pretoria.
The centre has been marred by complaints about long queues, allegations of corruption and by criminal syndicates.
President Zuma says the newly built Desmond Tutu Refugee Reception Centre will ensure that foreign nationals are treated with dignity.
“To guarantee that all clients are treated in a humane and dignified manner.”
Zuma says government will not tolerate corruption in its organisations.
“As well as in the refugee centre documentation process.”
The president says South Africa needs to find a way to balance dealing with these challenges and treating foreign nationals in a humane manner.
Meanwhile, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has appealed to South African leaders to be cautious of their words when referring to foreign nationals in the country.
Gigaba says leaders from all spheres have a responsibility to instil compassion and humanity in society.
“Political, religious and other leaders across the country must be care of their words and pronouncements in reference to immigrants in South Africa.”
Gigaba says there are laws put in place to deal with foreign nationals who are not in the country legally.
“Therefore no leader of this country should aspire towards inciting vigilantism.”
The Home Affairs Minister says while the majority of immigrants in South Africa have no criminal intention they have responsibility to ensure that they respect the law.