The South African Home Affairs Department has said it will not extend its December 31 deadline for Zimbabweans in the country to obtain documents allowing them to legally live, work and study there.
Sources in South Africa said Home Affairs Department offices have been swamped by Zimbabweans seeking residency and other permits, some sleeping outside the offices to secure a place at the head of the line. This situation has led some to conclude that many Zimbabweans will not be able to meet the yearend deadline.
The Zimbabwean government promised to send officials from the Harare Office of the Registrar General to South Africa to provide passports to the many thousands of Zimbabweans who lack them as a basis for South African documents. But sources said the Registrar General has not yet dispatched any documentation teams across the border.
VOA tried to reach Zimbabwean Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede, but his staff told a reporter to call back Thursday. Neither of the two co-ministers of the Zimbabwean Ministry Home Affairs could be reached for comment.
Zimbabwean diaspora activist Solomon Chikowero, chairman of the Movement for Democratic Change Veterans Activists Association in South Africa, told VOA Studio 7 reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that Harare is failing its citizens by not following through on its promise to provide passports to its nationals in South Africa.
Passport offices at home in Zimbabwe are also said to be jammed with applicants.