End of the line for illegal Zimbabweans in SA

2010-09-03 15:35

The withdrawal of the special dispensation that relaxed entry conditions for Zimbabweans travelling to South Africa for work, learning and travel purposes had always been on the cards, said Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Briefing the media in Midrand, Dlamini-Zuma said the relaxation of immigration conditions was announced in April 2009 and was put in place for only a year.

Asked if the withdrawal of the special dispensation meant that South Africa was tightening its immigration policy, Dlamini-Zuma said: “I wouldn’t say we are hardening (our stance). We are just doing what needs to be done.

It was never an open-door policy. We are just doing what was agreed.”

The withdrawal of the dispensation would mean that Zimbabweans would need to apply for correct documentation from their country, which would then be up for approval in South Africa.

“I think its important that we know who’s here and what people are doing. The Zimbabweans have assured us that they will make sure everyone is documented who needs to be.”

Foreigners who already had permits could apply to the department before the end of December to have these approved.

There would also be a grace period for those who were on fraudulent travel documents to approach the department for possible registration.

As of the beginning of 2010, those identified would be arrested and face deportation. 

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