SA rights group appeals for Zim documentation extension

A South African refugee rights group has called on the South African authorities to extend the deadline for Zimbabweans to get permits, warning that thousands of people are yet to receive their paperwork.

The end of the Zimbabwe Documentation Project is less than two weeks away and South Africa is set to resume deporting undocumented Zim nationals when the process is finalised.

But according to the Cape Town based PASSOP group, thousands of people have not got their documents yet, and fear is rising that they face possible deportation in the coming weeks.

The group’s Langton Miriyoga told SW Radio Africa on Tuesday that they are concerned that the process will not be completed by the July 31st deadline, saying a two months extension is needed.

“Some people haven’t received passports from the Zimbabwe consulate. Some haven’t been contacted to give fingerprints, which means their applications are not completed. Others, who have completed their applications, still haven’t been contacted to fetch their permits,” Miriyoga said. He added: “We estimate that close to 100 000 people are still waiting for their documents.”

About 276 000 applications for permits were made by Zim nationals since the documentation process was launched last year, despite more than two million Zimbabweans estimated to be in the country. South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs last month said it still needed to hand over about 100 000 permits, but insisted that it would meet its July 31st deadline. The department also confirmed that it would be resuming deportations when the process was completed.

But according to PASSOP, with the outstanding number of permits still to be delivered, there is an urgent need to extend the current deadline. The group has now written to Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma asking for a two month extension.

Miriyoga said on Tuesday that they are yet to get a response from Home Affairs. But he said they are confident their appeal will result in more time. “The Department has been very open to us during this process and we are quite confident they will hear our appeal now and grant an extension,” Miriyoga said.

Post published in: Politics

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