Treat Zimbabweans with respect - MDC
Pretoria - Zimbabweans in South Africa who failed to apply for legal permits and face deportation must be treated with respect, the Movement for Democratic Change said on Friday.
"We are appealing to the home affairs department to treat with respect those who face deportation after failing to beat the 31 December 2010 deadline," MDC spokesperson Sibanengi Dube said.
This comes as the department warned on Thursday that once the Zimbabwe documentation project was over, Zimbabweans without proper documentation would, like any other foreign national in the same position, face deportation.
Zimbabweans living in South Africa had until December 31 last year to submit applications for work, study and/or business permits, as part of government's special dispensation.
As part of the project, Zimbabweans in possession of fraudulent South African IDs were urged to hand them over to home affairs with the assurance they would not be prosecuted.
According to the department's statistics, there are approximately 1.5m Zimbabweans in the country. However, the December 31, 2010 deadline saw only 275 762 registering to legalise their residency. Of those 133 810 had been issued. The department still had 273 514 applications to adjudicate and 2 248 which were still pending.
It said it was on track with its project to issue documents to Zimbabweans, and would be ready to wrap it up within a month of next week’s deadline,
Earlier this year, the number of rejected applications was just over 100 000. The high number forced the department to review them.
On Thursday, deputy director-general Jackie McKay said the "reduced requirements" could mean at least 99% of Zimbabweans would be issued with permits.
Dube said his party was humbled by this news.
He said some permits remain uncollected at the home affairs offices, even after SMSes were sent out to people.
"We urge Zimbabweans to visit their application points before the expiry of the documentation period," Dube said.