Thousands of Zimbabweans queue, Home Affairs says it’s not a problem

Thousands of Zimbabweans continued to queue for work permits outside Home Affairs offices on...

Zimbabwean migrants queue for amnesty in Johannesburg on 29 September 2010. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

Thousands of Zimbabweans continued to queue for work permits outside Home Affairs offices on Tuesday morning despite the department insisting there is no real problem.

The registration process got off to a shaky start last month with reports of long queues and people sleeping outside Home Affairs offices and it seems the issues have still not been sorted out weeks later.

A man who dropped his gardener off at the Home Affairs office in central <?xml:namespace prefix="st1" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags"?><city w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Johannesburg said the queues outside were unacceptably long.

“People are standing outside waiting and I think they have been waiting all night. These people are expected to stay day and night in the streets waiting,” he said.

But Home Affairs Director-General Mkhuseli Apleni said he does not think there is a real problem.

“We are aware that the volumes are increasing in <city w:st="on">Johannesburg and <city w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Pretoria hence we are adding resources in these offices,” Apleni.

Meanwhile, Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said once illegal Zimbabweans in <country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">South Africa</country-region> have been documented, government will set about doing the same for members of other countries in the region.

Dlamini-Zuma was briefing the United Nations’ High Commission for Refugees in <city w:st="on">Geneva on <country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">South Africa</country-region>’s progress on registering the thousands of Zimbabweans who work and study in the country.

The minister said migrants remain central to the country’s development and the extension of the registration process will help <place w:st="on"><country-region w:st="on">South Africa</country-region>’s desperate neighbours.