Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

SA Minister joins queue with Zimbabweans

By Sibanengi Dube

Hundreds of Zimbabweans whistled and cheered when the South African Minister of Home Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini –Zuma physically joined in the processing of applications for work permits in Johannesburg’s Harrison Street.

Flanked by her Director Generals Apline and Jackey Mackey, Dlamini-Zuma made a rare appearance, when she is supposed to be on holiday and started going through applications forms demanding explanations over all rejections.

“Why were these applicants rejected?” inquired Dlamini-Zuma. “They didn’t submit, tax clearance certificate,” responded a Home Affairs officials. The fuming Dlamini-Zuma reminded the official that the Tax Clearance Certificate was never a requirement for work permits.

“But a Tax Clearance Certificate is not an employee’s responsibility,” said Dlamini-Zuma. She then confronted the applicants on a queue and demanded to know their problems. One applicant told her that he received a SMS informing him to come and collect his work permit.

“Then why are you queuing, go to first floor and collect your work permit,” said Dlamini-Zuma. The applicant sprinted upstairs and emerged back after a few minutes smiling from ear to ear clutching a work permit in his hand. She then demanded answers from her officials why they were making people queue instead of just serving them as they come.

By the time she left the long queue for applicants submitting their applications had disappeared. Worried Zimbabweans could not believe their ears when the Minister informed them that they will be not deported as long as they have submitted their applications before 31 December 2010.

Another wild wave of applause reverberated, when MD-T Chairman, Austin Moyo (snr) who told the Zimbabweans that all the 10 000 applicants who were rejected will be reviewed. Moyo, a member of the Stake Holders’ Forum was addressing applicants alongside Dlamini-Zuma.

The same determination displayed by the South Africans to help Zimbabweans was absent at that Zimbabwe Consulate’s two processing point. Applicants at the Zimbabwe Consulate in 20 Anderson Streets were being turned away for trivial issues like quality of pictures. Long queues and snail pace in service delivery remained the trade mark at the Zimbabwe Consulate’s Beula Park in Isando.

Some applicants were delayed as they were asked to pay R50 for new forms to replace spoiled ones. This is additional payment to R750 charged for a passport application. Meanwhile the SA Home Affairs is charging Zimbabweans nothing, zero, zilch for the work, business and study permits applications.

Applications forms are abundantly flowing freely in the streets. Some were even delivered to my office to distribute to Zimbabweans so that they can fill them at home and visit Home Affairs office to submit only.

Another major delay is being caused by the system of asking people to walk to the banks to deposit money in the consulate’s Standard Bank account. The applicants were further delayed as the Consulate takes time to verify payments before issuing an application form.

As if that is not enough inconvenience, the Zimbabwe Consulate is shutting down for Christmas holiday tomorrow (22 December 2010). The SA Home Affairs team will be working through except for the Christmas day only, Dlamini-Zuma announced yesterday.

Upon realizing that the Zimbabwe government was not even in a position to issue either passport or receipts confirming application payments, Dlamini-Zuma announced yesterday Zimbabweans were at liberty to apply for work permits using their Zimbabwe birth certificates or ID cards.

Sibanengi Dube, MDC SA Information Department Head.