Zimbabweans deportations put on ice
Johannesburg – South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs says a moratorium on deportations of Zimbabweans illegally in the country remains in place – for another month at least. There were fears that the government would from August deport illegal Zimbabwean immigrants who have not taken advantage of a campaign to get them properly documented. Home Affairs said a month-long grace period would be granted to give successful applicants under the Zimbabwe Documentation Project (ZDP) time to collect their paperwork. After this, anyone without the proper documentation will be deported. The forced removals were set to begin when the ZDP ended on July 31. “Zimbabweans will be treated like any other nationality who are deported when found without proper documentation,” head of the Zimbabwe documentation project, Jacob Mamabolo, said. More than 275 000 Zimbabweans applied for permits under the ZDP, but Home Affairs is yet to issue all successful applicants with work and study permits. Estimates put the number of Zimbabweans in South Africa at close to two million. The deportation threat has seen an increased number of Zimbabweans heading to Marabastad Refugee Reception Centre in Pretoria to register as asylum seekers. The congestion at the refugee reception centre has also led to at least two incidences of violence, with a number of people being injured in stampedes.