Over 230 000 Zimbabweans apply to legalise their stay

2010-12-31 13:51

More than 230 000 Zimbabweans have applied to the home affairs department to legalise their stay in South Africa.

Home affairs director general Mkuseli Apleni said that by 1pm today, 232 365 applications had been received at 42 offices across the country.

Home affairs communications manager Ricky Naidoo said the department had ruled on 44 649 applications and more than 38 000 had been approved, while another 6 165 applications had so far been rejected.

At the home affairs office on Harrison Street in Johannesburg, there were short queues of Zimbabweans on today as hawkers made brisk trade, selling black pens, passport holders and refreshments.

A 34-year-old Zimbabwean woman, who would only identify herself as Norma, said she was happy that she could legalise her status in the country.

“I came here for a job. At home people are suffering,” she said.

Home affairs offices have been instructed to remain open right until the last Zimbabwean application had been received today.

Zimbabweans were given a December 31 deadline to apply for documents to legalise their stay in the country.

Earlier, a Zimbabwean national was arrested outside a home affairs office in Pretoria for producing fake supporting documents, including fake letters of appointment, and selling them.

The man was taken to Pretoria West police station where he was allegedly found to be in possession of R25 000 earned from selling the fake documents.

A home affairs spokesperson said a computer and laptop were seized.

In a statement on Friday, Zimbabwe’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said it was “shell-shocked to receive news that the Zimbabwe government turned down an offer from the South Africa government of a printing press with a capacity of printing 100 000 passports”.

However, the home affairs spokesperson said there had been no specific offer of a printing press.

“We told the Zimbabwean government to let us know in general terms what they needed. There was no specific offer,” he said.

The only request received from the Zimbabwean government was for office space in Cape Town and Johannesburg. This had been provided.

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