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Mass deportations looming in SA

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South Africa’s Home Affairs department says it has adjudicated on 273 514 out of 275 762 applications for permits by Zimbabweans who were living in the country illegally.

The announcement comes ahead of the July 31 deadline by which South Africa said it would issue permits to Zimbabweans who applied to legalise their stay in the country after which it would deport those without permits. In a statement, the Home Affairs department said it was on course to meet its deadline.

“With a week to go, we are firmly on track to meeting our target to conclude the adjudication of applications,” said the department.

The department said 133 810 people had received their permits while 2 248 applications were still to be adjudicated. The department said it would be issuing out permits to those successful until August 1.

“We are aware that many Zimbabwean nationals are concerned that they may not yet have received their permits. As indicated above, one hundred and thirty three thousand, eight hundred and ten (133 810) permits have been issued,” the department said.

“As we have previously indicated, we will conclude the adjudication of the applications by 31 July 2011 and we will finalise all outstanding matters in August 2011. This will allow us sufficient time to dispatch all the required permits.”

An estimated 1, 5million Zimbabweans are living in South Africa and there are growing fears that up to 1 million could be deported as they did not apply for permits to regularise their stay.

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