SA not serious about Zim documentation

sa_home_affairsThe South African authorities are being accused of not being serious about documenting illegal Zimbabweans in the country, as pressure continues to build on the government to extend its documentation deadline.

The December 31st deadline is fast approaching, and the signs are clear that the process to document the tens of thousands of Zimbabweans without proper paperwork in South Africa will be unsuccessful. Zimbabweans have been spending days in queues trying to get their papers in order to get the relevant permits needed to remain in the country legally past the December deadline. But there are reports that some home affairs offices across the country are only processing 50 people a day, and there is growing panic about the threatened mass deportations set to start in the New Year.

Rights groups have been calling on the South African authorities to extend the deadline, if they are serious about the process being successful. The Consortium of Refugees and Migrants of South Africa (CoRMSA), has asked the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights to help pressure the South African government to extend the deadline. CoRMSA said in a statement that it made the appeal during the 48th Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights held in Gambia earlier this month.

CoRMSA Chairperson, Kaajal Ramjathan Keogh, told SW Radio Africa on Tuesday that they have also approached the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. She said that Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma was present at all these meetings, but she declined any efforts made for the deadline to be extended. Last week Dlamini Zuma insisted that the cut-off date was not flexible and would not be moved. She also said that anyone who tried to apply for legal permits after the deadline passes, will not be assisted.

Ramjathan Keogh said that the authorities need to extend the deadline until at least June 2011, if they are serious about this process being successful. She said that, as it stands, the process is doomed to fail. We are worried that the South African authorities are not concerned with documenting the Zimbabweans and instead just want to start deportations for their political reasons, Ramjathan Keogh said.

She continued: It leads us to believe that they will use the documentation process as an excuse to legitimately start deportations again, because they will have offered this option to people, however briefly, so we have very serious concerns.

Post published in: News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *