Officials of South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs were to meet Friday with representatives of the Zimbabwean community in an effort to resolve difficulties met by expatriates seeking to legalize their residency status.
Zimbabweans seeking residency and work permits have been lining up for the past week outside offices of the Home Affairs Department - some sleeping there to be first in the queue when doors open. Sources said only 60 applications are being processed a day, leading many to conclude most Zimbabweans won’t meet a December 31 deadline.
Complicating matters, the Zimbabwean government has not followed through on promises to place staff of the Office of the Registrar General in South Africa to help nationals obtain new passports - essential to legalize their status in South Africa. Harare officials including the two co-ministers of Home Affairs declined to comment on the situation.
For perspective on the process, VOA Studio 7 reporter Sandra Nyaira spoke with Zimbabwe Political Victims Association Coordinator Oliver Kubikwa and Zimbabwe Exiles Forum Director Gabriel Shumba. Shumba voiced the concern that the South African administration lacks the capacity to process applications in time.