Friday, October 15, 2010

SA Home Affairs Zimbabwe documentation process flawed big time

South Africa attempting to
South African department of home affairs ambitious documentation process for Zimbabweans is flawed big time. How can they ask non passport holders who entered South Africa illegally to apply for a passport; and then ask them to prove they were in the country on or before 31 May 2010. How? By showing a before 31 May entry stamp in the passport!

When millions of Zimbabweans living in South Africa woke up to the announcement they were right to have mixed reactions. Those who have got passports but no permits rejoiced and those without passports were angered. For the latter, the thought of being deported back to Zimbabwe was just too much to bear.

In the days that followed, there was alarm and despondency in the Zim immigrant community. There was so much information flying from one corner to the other.

And then when the project kicked off people approached the situation with caution. Others rushed and others played the wait and see game.
On the fourth day of the project I stopped by Wynberg home affairs office in Cape Town. It was hectic. People were already in a long queue by ten o clock. I went to a bunch of ladies who were huddled in a corner and asked them how they were doing.
"Frustrated. We came here yesterday but we didn't manage to go inside to submit the papers...", one said.
The other said, "I did go in yesterday but it seems they have added other requirements besides what they are saying on TV".

Typical South African home affairs I thought to myself. Say one thing and then do the other.
What else are they asking for now?
"I had brought my letter of employment but now they told me I should bring the contract as well and the person who is writing the letter must take it to the police and have it stamped by the station commander's stamp and then signed by the commissioner of oaths", she told me.

I continued with my thoughts, dumbfounded, because in the first place I thought the requirements were anything but fair. To begin with, not everyone would manage to get the letter of employment. And then to ask busy and important bosses to leave their leather desks to go and queue in line at the police station to have an employee's letter stamped?
Based on experience and what I see everyday, I am not sure half of the people needing permits will be able to get their bosses to do this and without that they will kiss goodbye to their hope of ever getting a work permit.
When I heard this I lost all the hope for my fellow country men.

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