Deportation has no colour - home affairs
Pretoria - Black Africans were not the only people targeted for deportation, the home affairs department said on Thursday.
"That's not true, we target all nationals found to be without legal documentation, whether black or white, they are arrested and deported," said deputy director-general Jackie McKay, to a question at a media briefing in Pretoria.
McKay highlighted that while most immigrants in the country were from Southern African Development Community countries, that did not mean European or Asian illegal immigrants were overlooked.
Those deported excluded Zimbabwean nationals who were given special dispensation and moratorium on deportations, a process ending in just a week.
It has been two years since government stopped the deportation of Zimbabweans pending their legalisation process.
Permits for Zimbabweans
Last year, government called on all Zimbabweans in possession of fraudulent South African IDs to return them 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.
Earlier this year, the number of rejected applications was just over 100 000. The high number forced the department to review them.
McKay said the "reduced requirements" could mean at least 99% of Zimbabweans would be issued with permits.
Any Zimbabwean, or other nationalities for that matter, found to be without proper documentation after the July cut-off date, would be deported, McKay said.
Some Zimbabweans have gone as far as sleeping outside refugee offices in order to be assisted. Many have expressed concern that they may not have their permits by that time.
McKay said the department would finalise all outstanding matters in August. This would also allow sufficient time to dispatch all permits.