Over 275 000 Zimbabweans apply to stay
More than 275 000 Zimbabweans applied to the Department of Home Affairs to legalise their stay in South Africa.
Home Affairs Director General Mkuseli Apleni said on Thursday the department had finalised all its figures and that 275 762 Zimbabweans had applied.
By 4pm on Friday, 250 633 applications had been received at 42 offices across the country.
Apleni said the figure on Friday had not included applications received after 4pm, as well as applications taken by Home Affairs officials who had gone to rural areas where Zimbabweans worked on commercial farms.
Some applications had been handed in by human rights organisations on behalf of Zimbabweans.
Home Affairs officials are now focusing on processing the applications, and so far 42 779 Zimbabweans had their applications approved.
He said another 222 817 applications still needed to be processed.
Zimbabweans still awaiting passports
On Friday Home Affairs communications manager Ricky Naidoo said the department had rejected 6 165 applications.
Last September, illegal Zimbabweans were given a December 31 deadline to apply for documents to legalise their stay in the country.
Applicants had to present supporting documentation including Zimbabwean passports, their birth certificates and letters from their employers or affidavits from the police to prove self-employment.
Many Zimbabweans did not have passports and the Zimbabwean government was only capable of processing 500 passports a day.
On Wednesday, the People Against Suffering, Suppression, Oppression and Poverty said there were at least 100 000 Zimbabweans awaiting passports.
Apleni said he hoped that the department would be able to finalise all applications by the end of February. Contract workers brought in to help with processing the applications had had their contracts extended to the end of February.
“We also reiterate that we will not be deporting any undocumented Zimbabwean nationals until we have completed the processing of all applications,” he said.—Sapa.