Pretoria - The Department of Home Affairs has allayed fears of a mass deportation of Zimbabwean nationals, now that the adjudication process of the Zimbabwean Documentation Project has been finalised.
Plans for a mass deportation of Zimbabweans were not on the agenda of the South African government, the department said on Monday.
It added that Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma had noted the speculation from some quarters about alleged government plans to engage in wholesale deportations of Zimbabweans.
"Minister Dlamini Zuma is on record having stated that once the Zimbabwean documentation project is finalised, the country will revert to the normal processes of immigration in line with domestic and international prescripts.
"Such processes will seek to ensure compliance with South Africa's immigration laws and will not target Zimbabweans but will deal with illegal immigrants of all nationalities," it added.
The department pointed out that government is bound by domestic laws and is a signatory to various international protocols and conventions, which regulate the conduct of government in dealing with illegal immigrants.
The 31 July deadline the department had set itself to adjudicate the 275 762 applications received for work, study and business permits from undocumented Zimbabwean nationals had been met, the department said.
It is now in the process of issuing permits to applicants but was still dealing with logistical challenges, which included obtaining fingerprints from outstanding applicants.
In addition, some applicants were still waiting for the travel documents that need to be issued by Zimbabwean authorities.
Once the all outstanding issues have been finalised, the minister will subject the entire Zimbabwean Documentation Project to a review process, in order to ensure that unsuccessful applications were not unduly rejected.
The conclusion of the review process will bring down the curtain on the project.