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 Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory 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.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid