News / Africa

Zimbabweans Rush to Meet Deadline to Become Legal in South Africa

Zimbabweans pass a police cordon to submit their application forms in a last-minute bid to have their status in South Africa legalized, outside the Immigration offices in Johannesburg, Dec 31, 2010
Zimbabweans pass a police cordon to submit their application forms in a last-minute bid to have their status in South Africa legalized, outside the Immigration offices in Johannesburg, Dec 31, 2010

Multimedia

Audio
Peta Thornycroft

On New Year's Eve,  Zimbabweans were still lining up outside South African government offices, attempting to become legal citizens in South Africa before the deadline on Friday. The South Africans have relaxed many immigration laws to allow as many Zimbabweans as possible to become legal.

Some of the Zimbabweans applying late Friday had neither birth certificate nor any other form of identification as they lined up outside home affairs offices, mainly in the Johannesburg area.

This is the last day of a process that began in September to legalize as many Zimbabweans as possible who fled to South Africa during the last decade of political and economic crisis.

There was a last-minute surge by tens of thousands of Zimbabweans as the deadline drew to a close.

Many had been suspicious of the process, fearing deportation. Others stayed away because they had no documentation.

Then the word got out that the South Africans had relaxed conditions again, and would give Zimbabweans time to get their documentation, including passports, as long as they turned up to home affairs and applied to become legal before the deadline.

Director General of the Department of Home Affairs MKuseli Apleni said extra personnel had been deployed on New Years Eve at home affairs offices around the country to cope with the numbers. "We are really excited as a department for us to be able to see the Zimbabweans have listened to the call and come forward. No Zimbabwean will not get attended to by the end of this day."

For some, however, the long, tedious process was nearly at an end. They received a receipt that their application accompanied by all the correct documentation was in place, and that at least for the moment they legally can work in South Africa.

One of those in line Thursday who was hoping for good news was Xolani Nkomo, a mechanic. "I came here this morning, it was 20 to six when I arrived here. I found the queue was too long, but I couldn't believe my eyes, when I was inside. Now I am outside, I am through with everything, all my papers have been cleared, so now I am very happy. I say thank you very much to the government of South Africa for what you have done for me, I am very happy."

Another, Fikile Dube, is in the building construction industry in South Africa. "I am very, very, very happy. It was very fast and they are friendly and and they are helping people very much. I have got the receipt now.  I know I will stay very nice in South Africa  I will be free as a self-employed person. No one will arrest me, no deportation, God bless them."

More than 200,000 people had applied ahead of the deadline. More than 35,000 already have been granted work permits since September.

No one has ever been sure how many Zimbabweans fled to South Africa in the last 10 years. Some analysts said it was as many as 3 million.


You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid