Zim passport issue under spotlight

Friday, February 18, 2011
Francis Hweshe

Cape Town - Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma is set to meet her Zimbabwean counterparts in Pretoria early next week to discuss progress regarding the processing of passports in that country.

Briefing the media in Cape Town, the minister said that her department was adjudicating 275 762 applications by Zimbabweans they had received by December last year.

"However, we are still awaiting passports from applicants who are awaiting them from the Zimbabwean government. We will be meeting with both the Zimbabwean ministers of Home Affairs on Monday and Tuesday ... to discuss these issues and the way forward," she said.

Thousands of Zimbabweans living in the country late last year applied to regularise their stay in the country through the department's Zimbabwe Documentation Project.

A valid passport was one of the requirements for those wishing to stay in the country, with many applying to their government back home to have that sorted out.

Recently, the Zimbabwean government announced that they had stopped issuing passports following a fire at the passport processing centre in Harare.

Dlamini Zuma said the government would be tough on foreigners who abused the permit system, but would make it easier and efficient for those who wish to be in the country for genuine reasons.

She said applications would be easy for people who provide critically needed skills and those who want to study or do business.