Still no passports in sight for Zims in SA

Thousands of Zimbabweans who applied for South African permits are still awaiting their passports applied for in Johannesburg.

A source from within the Zimbabwean Consulate here told The Zimbabwean this week that more than 5 000 passports applied for since the beginning of the Zimbabwe Documentation Programme last year, have not yet been delivered due to some “unexplained processing delays” in Harare, raising fears that the prospective permit holders will not get them any time soon.

With South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, having declared recently that the moratorium on Zimbabwean deportations had lapsed, fears now abound that even those who applied for the freely-processed business, work and study permits will meet the wrath of South African police, who have already begun to demand passports with permits from Zimbabwean nationals.

“The number of outstanding passports is well above 5 000 and we do not know when we will have them delivered because we have not had any word from Harare,” said the source.

“The South African government has raised concerns with us because they want to conclude the programme, but we can only ask them to extend their patience with us because the delay is beyond our control.”

Dlamini-Zuma said last week that her government, though working with speed to complete the ZDP, was facing problems with Zimbabweans who had not completed the application process due to lack of either finger prints or valid passports.

“There are some who have not given us their passports. And I have been receiving reports that there are some who have not responded to our calls so they can provide us with the required documents or information. We have almost pre-adjudicated everyone but we need your passports and fingerprints before we can issue the permits. More than half have been issued with permits. We cannot do much for those who have not submitted all that is required.”

Efforts to get comment from the Zimbabwean Consulate here proved fruitless, as the department, which insisted on emailed questions, had not responded more than two weeks after our emails to them.

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