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Death of Undocumented Zimbabweans in Some Nations Causing Headaches

FILE: An immigration official addresses Zimbabweans outside an immigration office in downtown Johannesburg, South Africa, December 15, 2010, as they attempt to become legal.

Hundreds of undocumented Zimbabweans in various countries, especially South Africa, die every day and relatives of the deceased find it difficult to process the necessary documents to repatriate their remains home for burial.

Some operators of funeral parlors in Johannesburg say at times it is difficult to repatriate the remains as it takes a lot of time to obtain the needed documents from Zimbabwe and the country’s embassy in South Africa.

On average, the parlors say they handle between three and five bodies of Zimbabweans, who die in South Africa per week, and in some cases it is too complicated when some of the deaths are related to criminal activities.

Studio 7 caught up with one of the operators, Mandla Sibiya, who told Studio failure to provide the necessary documents for deceased people can result in serious delays in repatriating bodies of Zimbabweans.

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There are more than 2 million Zimbabweans living in South Africa and thousands who are also staying in various countries.

Most of them are political and economic refugees fleeing Zimbabwe's socio-economic and political problems.