SA to meet Zim officials over passports

2011-01-13 14:27

Documenting more than 275 000 Zimbabweans who applied to legalise their stay in the country will depend on the cooperation of the Zimbabwean government and its ability to produce passports, a senior home affairs official said today.

Chief Director for Permits Jacob Mamabolo said today in Pretoria that government hoped to finish processing the 275 762 applications for residency by Zimbabweans by June 30, but “the cooperation from Zimbabwe will be critical”.

However, the Zimbabwean government is only able to process 500 passports a day and a substantial number of the Zimbabweans who applied to legalise their stay do not have passports.

Mamabolo said he could not immediately say how many of the 275,762 applicants did not have passports.

He expected the department to have sorted out all the applications and would then know how many Zimbabweans do not have passports.

He said that Home Affairs Director-General Mkuseli Apleni was planning to meet with Zimbabwean consular and embassy officials to discuss ways of helping the Zimbabwean government to speed up its ability to issue passports.

In addition, there would be a meeting between Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and her Zimbabwean counterparts in the near future.

Yesterday, he said that the department hoped to complete processing the 275 762 applications by June 30, after which Zimbabweans will have 31 days to collect their visas from the 42 home affairs offices.

Government set aside R6 million for the project, but Mamabolo said that only once the whole process had been completed by June 30 would the full cost become apparent.

In April last year, Pretoria announced a moratorium on the deportation of Zimbabweans and granted them a special dispensation so that they could get their documents from Zimbabwean officials based in South Africa.

The dispensation was to allow them to normalise their stay in South Africa.

They had until the end of last year to lodge their applications with the department of home affairs.

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