Deportees stretching capacities: RG

Zimbabwean Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede told Parliament’s committee on home affairs on Monday that deportations of Zimbabweans from South Africa and Botswana were stretching his department’s capacities, forcing it to operate seven days a week.

Tobaiwa Mudede
Tobaiwa Mudede

Mudede said his staff now worked long hours to process documents for deported citizens. He said his office was overloaded, even though last year staffers went to South Africa to document Zimbabweans without passports who sought permits to reside there.

Just over 72,000 Zimbabweans received South African residency documents, though there are estimated to be more than 2 million living there.

Principal Immigration Director Clemence Masangano told the committee that deportees from South Africa complain of harassment on both sides of the border. He said South Africa had deported 3,900 Zimbabweans since early October, while Botswana had sent home 18,700 Zimbabweans since the beginning of the year.

Masango expressed concern that Botswana punishes some deportees with flogging. He said the Zimbabwean government had engaged Botswana to end this.

Meanwhile, the International Organization for Migration refuted reports that hundreds of Zimbabweans were being deported from South Africa without their papers being in order.

IOM officials said that, based on its records and government figures, such cases have been isolated. The organization has helped 2,758 deportees make their way back to Zimbabwe since South Africa resumed deportations in October.

Natalie Perez, head of the IOM office in Zimbabwe, said that the Beitbridge reception centre was sufficiently funded to operate through March.

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