No Zim deportations yet, says Dlamini-Zuma

No Zimbabweans will be deported until the South Africa’s Home Affairs Department had processed all the applications for visas and permits, said Home Affairs Minister Nkosozana Dlamini-Zuma in Pretoria on Tuesday.

Speaking after a meeting with the Zimbabwean Stakeholder’s Forum, she said one of the main problems facing Zimbabweans was that the Zimbabwean government was incapable of producing more than 500 passports a day.

“They have close on 40 000 applications still outstanding as we speak. So clearly they will not be able to finish that backlog before the end of the month,” she said.

Dlamini-Zuma said there had been no request for assistance from the Zimbabwean government to the South African government to help out with the issuing of passports.

“Even last week we were were on the phone to them [the Zimbabwean Home Affairs ministers] saying that time is running out and saying tell us if you need assistance and what assistance you need. We are still waiting for them.”

She said that Zimbabweans who had applied for passports but had not received them should attach a copy of the receipt they received from Zimbabwe consular officials to the documentation they submit in their application for a visa.

The December 31 deadline for accepting visa applications still stood.

Dlamini-Zuma said there were also delays in getting fingerprints and as a result the Department of Home Affairs would from Wednesday be accepting application forms without finger prints.

A delegate from the Zimbabwean Stakeholder’s Forum, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the South African Press Association that “the minister was half way right but that the message was not filtering down to the police”.

He said arrests were still happening despite the minister’s assurances that police would not take action against undocumented Zimbabweans.

Earlier this year the department announced that all Zimbabwean immigrants who did not have their papers in order must apply for relevant documents and register their status in the country.

The special dispensation, allowing Zimbabweans crossing into South Africa the right to live, work, attend education facilities and access basic health care for a period of six months, would come to an end with the December deadline.—Sapa

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