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19 Jan 2012 16:25
The process of documenting more than 250 000 Zimbabweans living in South Africa has almost been completed, a senior home affairs official said on Thursday.
Director general Mkuseli Apleni said 255 282 Zimbabweans had been granted permits to make their stay legal. Another 20 480 applications had to be finalised.
He hoped that the process would be completed by the end of March.
In April 2010, Pretoria announced a moratorium on the deportation of Zimbabweans.
They were granted a special dispensation to get documents and make their stay in South Africa legal.
Second phase in the pipeline
Zimbabweans had until December 2010 to apply.
A total of 275 762 applications for permits were received, according to the home affairs department.
Apleni rejected claims reportedly made last month by Zimbabwe’s Home Affairs Deputy Minister Kembo Mohadi that a second phase to document Zimbabweans was in the pipeline.
“We have said it is closed forever.
If there are those who did not take up that offer, they are now here illegally.”
Zimbabwe’s independent Newsday newspaper quoted Mohadi as saying Zimbabwean officials would be meeting their South African counterparts in the new year to begin “the second phase”.
“Last year, we engaged the South African government on regularising our people but many were initially suspicious.
“But they are now coming up in large numbers and we hope we will be able to have them regularised.”
Apleni said there were plans afoot for the regularisation of other nationals from Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries but this did not involve Zimbabwe.
“After Zimbabwe the [Home Affairs] Minister [Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma] will look at what the next country will be in this process. It will be a SADC country.”
Apleni could not say which country Dlamini-Zuma was considering next.—Sapa
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