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Under Pressure From South Africa, Zimbabwe Officials Promise Passports

  • Tatenda Gumbo

South African and Zimbabwean officials agreed to extend by one month, to July 31, a deadline for the submission of all documents required to complete applications by Zimbabweans living in South Africa for four-year permits to work, study or operate a business there

Zimbabwean officials are under pressure to speed up issuance of passports to citizens requiring them to complete applications for permits to reside in South Africa, following a meeting between Home Affairs officials of both countries this week.

The officials agreed to extend by one month, to July 31, a deadline for the submission of all documents required to complete applications by Zimbabweans living in South Africa for four-year permits to work, study or operate a business there.

The Zimbabwean officials promised to issue some 60,000 passports by that date.

Home Affairs Ministers Kembo Mohadi and Theresa Makone met their South African counterpart Nkosazana Zuma in Pretoria Tuesday to discuss how to accelerate passport production to accommodate Zimbabweans seeking permits.

Meanwhile, advocates for Zimbabweans in South Africa who are still struggling to secure residency permits have expressed displeasure that they were not involved in talks this week in Pretoria between the South African and Zimbabwean officials.

Zimbabwe Exiles Forum Director Gabriel Shumba said the refusal by Zimbabwean officials to meet with representatives of citizens living in South Africa reflected arrogance and disdain for Zimbabweans in the so-called diaspora. He said the Zimbabwean consul general told the group he would be busy until the permit process was completed.

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