HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsComment: Illegals should regularise SA stay

Comment: Illegals should regularise SA stay


Reports that hundreds of Zimbos across the Limpopo River have been gripped with anxiety make sad reading considering the host country has, on countless times, extended the deadline for regularisation of the illegal immigrants’ documentation.

As the July 31 deadline beckons for illegal immigrants in South Africa to regularise their documentation, the illegal immigrants still undocumented must formalise their permits and avoid a last-minute rush.

One wonders, what’s the point in remaining anonymous in a foreign country unless one is a fugitive or outright criminal?

South Africa’s Home Affairs Department has extended the deadline several times and gone out of its way to ease the registration process.

This is by any standard really commendable. This is so considering the country is under no obligation to treat illegal immigrants with kid gloves.

It’s not only illegal, but morally wrong for a person to live in a foreign country without proper documentation.

Granted, most of the illegal immigrants, especially those from Zimbabwe, found themselves across the Limpopo courtesy of the unpalatable socio-economic and political circumstances back home.

But, South Africa and Botswana have on countless occasions invited them to regularise their stay.

It’s folly for our undocumented fellow countrymen and women in those countries to expect the generosity to be extended further.

There’s no point in remaining undocumented when the host country has availed an opportunity to make good the immigrants’ stay.

Imagine what would happen to those who will opt to be deported — risk of being dehumanised, risk of being easy targets for xenophobic attacks and burial/repatriation complications in cases where one dies across the borders without the requisite paper work.

Besides, it’s also pointless to wait to be deported because that would be an unnecessary additional cost to the host country.

Elsewhere, we carry a report where South African Home Affairs spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa confirmed that deportations would be carried out without further delay, come the July 31 deadline.
“We will take action once the process is done and that’s when we will announce how the deportations will be done.”

Zimbabwe Exiles’ Forum programme manager Eddie Matangaidze, whose organisation is part of the Zimbabwe Documentation Project Stakeholders’ Forum, headed by SA’s Home Affairs Department, confirmed same.

Matangaidze said the Home Affairs department already knew the places where most illegal Zimbabweans stayed and would find it easy to flush them out.

It is estimated that up to 1,5 million Zimbabweans live in South Africa and most have no permits, meaning hundreds of thousands could be deported.

We, however, caution those charged with the documentation process to ensure they clear all the applications without delay so that there will be no more excuses for those who choose to remain anonymous.

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