South African authorities this week again said a December 31 deadline for Zimbabwean and other foreigners in the country illegally to regularize their status will not be extended, but said partial documentation will allow many to avoid arrest and deportation.
Meanwhile, human rights activists in South Africa said they are bracing for the possibility of hundreds of thousands of deportations once the deadline expires, wrote VOA Johannesburg correspondent Scott Bobb and reporter Stanley Karombo
South African Home Affairs Minister Dlamini Zuma called on Zimbabweans who can offer proof they have applied for Zimbabwean passports, birth certificates or identity papers to approach Home Affairs offices and apply for residency permits based on receipts.
VOA Studio 7 correspondent Benedict Nhlapho in Johannesburg reported that only those who applied for Zimbabwean passports in South Africa will benefit from the procedure.
Zimbabwean organizations in South Africa including both formations of the Movement for Democratic Change have received application forms to distribute to Zimbabweans who want to apply for residency permits. But those still waiting at the Zimbabwean Consulate to file passport applications cannot seek a permit without a passport application receipt.
Zimbabweans holding short-form birth certificates, who must obtain a long-form certificate to apply for a passport, have been advised to approach the Consulate for proof that they are in the process of obtaining long-form birth certificates. Those with proof they have applied for a long-form birth certificate will be allowed to seek a residency permit.
Zimbabweans without such documentation have been advised to e-mail their details to Home Affairs Director Mkuseli Apleni at email@example.com.
South African authorities are also easing requirements for farm workers for whom the 750 rand cost of a new Zimbabwean passport is prohibitive.