More than 10 000 applications for permits by Zimbabweans seeking to live in South Africa legally have not been processed because authorities in that country say they do not meet basic requirements, NewsDay has learnt.
South Africa’s Home Affairs director general Mkhuseli Apleni told the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) on Tuesday his department had not processed the applications because they have failed to fulfil the needed requirements.
“If you have a criminal record, we will not give you a permit,” he said.
“If you are studying, you have to be registered with a learning institution. If you have a business, then that business has to be registered with the Department of Trade and Industry. The applications in question do not meet the set criteria. We are soon going to sit down and adjudicate on the applications”.
Apleni said the Home Affairs department had received 254 802 applications by the close of day on December 31, 2010, which was the deadline for Zimbabweans to regularise their stay in South Africa.
He said out of these, only 46 000 had been processed to date.
Over three million Zimbabweans are believed to be staying in South Africa illegally.
Media reports from South Africa at the end of December said long queues formed throughout South Africa’s Home Affairs department offices as desperate Zimbabweans made last-ditch efforts to apply to make their stay in South Africa legal.
Apleni confirmed what South Africa’s Home Affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said last year that Zimbabweans, who had been denied study, work and business permits should “go home” or face deportation after the expiry of the set deadline.
“We will deport those Zimbabweans who do not meet the set criteria. However this will be carried out in a dignified manner,” said Apleni as he tried to ward off reports the police in that country had shown heavy-handedness during deportations.
Apleni however said not all Zimbabweans who do not meet the criteria would be deported.
“There are some special circumstances we have to look into. For example, we have discovered that there are some blind Zimbabweans who beg on our roads. We have to consider many such special cases with the Minister of Home Affairs,” he said.