Zim opens new offices in SA

zims_in_saJOHANNESBURG The Zimbabwean government has opened new offices to process applications for identity and travel documents for its citizens based in South Africa, amid concerns that the December deadline set by the host government might not be met. (Pictured: Zimbabweans in South Afric

The South African government last month gave Zimbabweans until December 31 2010 to formalise their stay by applying for work, business or study permits, but to be eligible, the Zimbabweans need to have valid passports.

With applications initially received in Johannesburg only, most Zimbabweans were increasingly getting worried that they might fail to meet the deadline, after which the South African government is expected to resume deportations of those without valid travel documents.

However, Zimbabwes Consular General, Chris Mapanga, this week told The Zimbabwean that more offices had been opened to receive the applications beginning early this week. We know that many people are angry with us at the moment because of the slow speed at which we have been moving, but that has been because of the number of applications we have been receiving by the day, said Mapanga.

Some have even accused us of trying to sabotage the whole process, but I would like to assure people that this is not the case because we have no reason to sabotage anyone. We are working hand-in-hand with the South African government to ensure that the whole process is completed in time and that is why we have opened the new centres outside Johannesburg.

Mapanga said that the new offices had been opened in Cape Town and Pretoria Show grounds.

We will open even more centres and the public will be notified in due course, but for now people should be patient with us because there is lot of work, added Mapanga, who said his office was processing about 1 000 applications a day.

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