New ZDP Assistance Project launched

PASSOP will monitor the adjudication and appeals processes of the remainder of the Zimbabwean Dispensation Project (ZDP) and provide assistance and advice to applicants whose applications were initially rejected.

The Department of Home Affairs’ ZDP, which intended to regularize the stay of and document as many of the Zimbabweans eligible to work in South Africa as possible, is intended to be completed in July. The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) received over 275,000 applications for temporary residence permits through the ZDP between October and December last year. While roughly 150,000 permits have already been approved, according to the DHA, over 120,000 have now been found to be incomplete and applicants will need to submit missing documents and/or fingerprints.

The aim of this project is to hence to ensure that as many of these 120,000 Zimbabweans are given a given a fair chance to appeal, and that the adjudication processes are transparent and consistent across the country.

The reason why so many of the applications are incomplete in the first place is because: 1) the lifespan of the ZDP was too short, with 275,000 applicants rushing to apply in the just three months given; 2) the rules and regulations of the ZDP were constantly changed; and 3) the Zimbabwean Consulate have lacked transparency, been inconsistent and downright ineffective in the delivery of the essential passports. Hence, the majority of incomplete applications are not the fault of the Zimbabwean applicants.

The four key objectives of the project are the following:

1) -Monitoring the adjudication process to ensure that the process is transparent, fair and accountable;

2) -Advising and assisting rejected applicants and informing them about their available options;

3) -Assisting eligible applicants in the appeals process through consultation and advice, helping to draft and print letters of appeal, and following up with employers about providing the necessary documents; and

4) -Compiling a monitoring report that assesses the overall quality of the appeals and adjudication processes of the ZDP and recommends a list of ‘lessons learned’ for similar projects in the future.

We will continue to work constructively with the DHA, both in this province and nationally, to ensure that the ZDP is concluded in a fair manner.

Over the past few weeks and months, PASSOP has already been assisting rejected applicants in the appeals process. Through the resources from this ZDP Appeals Monitoring Project, PASSOP has hired two new staff members specifically to provide support to rejected applicants. In this way, we will be able to provide many more rejected applicants with assistance and guidance in the adjudication processes and in appealing their rejections.

If you would like further information about the ZDP Appeals Monitoring Project or if your application for the ZDP has been denied and you need assistance in the appeals process, please contact PASSOP at office@passop.co.za or call us at 021 820 4664.

Breaking news: Cape Town passports to be delivered

According to the website of the Zimbabwean consulate, passports will be delivered to applicants in Cape Town from Thursday 28th – Saturday 30th of APRIL.  The following message is currently posted on their website:

“Consulate officials will be distributing passports in Cape Town (Home Affairs, boston Center, Bellview) between 28 and 30 April 2011. You will be required to bring your passport application receipt for R750.00 and a Zimbabwean ID/ expired/valid passport. Please note parents and guardians collecting for children below 16years will be required to bring the child’s birth certificate and parents Zimbabwean ID.”

This is a welcome development after months of denial, empty threats and anything but transparent behavior.

It is still unclear whether they will be taking applications for new passports.

Foreign security workers being dismissed

PASSOP is extremely concerned over the mass dismissals of immigrants by private security companies across South Africa

Press Statement – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 17 April 2011

The growing number of immigrant workers being dismissed by private security companies is extremely concerning. It appears that there is a countrywide government clampdown on companies employing foreigners in the security sector. As a result of this clampdown companies who willingly employed immigrants are unfairly and illegally dismissing those same workers. Over the last few weeks we have recorded cases in which foreigners at security companies have lost their jobs en masse. These dismissals were made in violation of labour law procedures.

The reason given by companies to their workers (including many who have been employed for several years) is that it is illegal for security companies to employ anyone who is not registered by the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) in terms of Section 23 of the Private Security Regulatory Act. It is alleged that PSIRA has recently started clamping down and refusing to register foreigners. In some cases it was alleged that PSIRA revoked permits they had already provided to foreigners. If this is correct, thousands of foreign security workers across South Africa are now losing their jobs.

PASSOP feels that such blatant discrimination based on nationality is unacceptable. We feel that it not only increases the vulnerability of foreigners to unfair labour practices but that it can also easily lead to the resurfacing of tensions between South Africans and foreigners.

The potentially significant effect of such prejudice was disturbingly exposed on Wednesday April 6th in (the Cape Town suburb of) Muizenberg when a Congolese security guard, who had been dismissed as a result of this new clamp down, shot and killed his former employer, before committing suicide. This tragedy is a sad result of an irrational human response by a desperate person to an irrational situation. He had clearly suffered huge personal pain and our thoughts are with both their families.

We firmly believe that the human rights enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa are to be enjoyed by all who are in this vibrant country. Everyone, including refugees, asylum seekers and people who have applied for permits under the recent Zimbabwean Dispensation Project, should have the right to work and the right to fair labour practices. In this context, we see the massive dismissal of foreigners who are employed by private security companies as intolerable.  We encourage government efforts towards job creation, but stress that jobs are not created by dismissing non-South African workers.

For comment from PASSOP please contact: Alex de Cormamond – 072 697 4393, Langton Miriyoga – 084 026 9658, or Braam Hanekom – 084 319 1764

The Zimbabwean Consulate is finally delivering passports to the Western Cape 28 to 30 April

The Zimbabwean Consulate Finally Delivers Passports

To Zimbabweans in Cape Town

PASSOP has been informed that the Zimbabwean Consulate will finally be delivering passports to Zimbabweans who applied for them in Cape Town, following months of misinformation, which caused much panic amongst Cape Town based Zimbabwean applicants. We welcome this move, but note with concern the inconsistency in the Zimbabwean consulate’s public statements. We also note with concern that there remain applicants for the Zimbabweans Dispensation Project who still need to apply for passports, who have not been given any opportunity to do so in Cape Town.

We will monitor the process to ensure that they are held to account, it is important that human rights are respected during the distribution process and that no more assaults or political interference occurs.

Consulate officials will be distributing passports in Cape Town from the South African Department of Home Affairs office in Boston Centre, Bellville between 28 and 30 April 2011.

Applicants will be required to bring their passport application receipt for R750.00 and a Zimbabwean ID/ expired/valid passport. Please note parents and guardians collecting for children below 16 years will be required to bring their child’s birth certificate and parents Zimbabwean ID

For comment please contact: Langton Miriyoga – 084 026 9658 or Braam Hanekom – 0843191764

ZIM PASSPORTS: April 8th deadline a hoax

Press Statement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Zimbabwean consulate’s claim that all passports (no matter where in the country applications were made) should be collected from the Consulate in Johannesburg before the 8th of April is an empty threat that it is nonsensical, illogical and inconsistent.  PASSOP believes that through this move the Zimbabwean Consulate is aiming to both manipulate the South African government and to intimidate Zimbabwean citizens.

The Zimbabwean consulate cannot withhold passports from its citizens who paid for these passports and it has an obligation to deliver passports in line with the promises it has made. We do not want Zimbabweans to panic as we believe that, if needed, the South African government will exercise leniency for those who lack the funds to travel to collect passports from other provinces.

PASSOP remains extremely concerned about the Zimbabwean government’s failure to deliver passports to its citizens in South Africa. The many thousands of people who applied and paid for passports in Cape Town and other parts of South Africa should be able to collect their passports where they applied. The Zimbabwean government has been inconsistent and lacked transparency in its delivery of passports. It  is clear that they continue to use passport applicants as hostages for their own political means. We believe that these actions are intended to manipulate the South African government, which has recently increased pressure on the Zimbabwean government  to end all political violence.

South Africa is trying to regularize the status of thousands of Zimbabweans who are now put at risk because of being unable to access passports required for the much-needed temporary permits they have applied for. Our numerous efforts to seek clarification on whether the Consulate would re-open its offices for the collection of passports in the different provinces have resulted in false promises, and erratic, incoherent and inconsistent responses.

The Consulate has recently announced on its website (www.zimbabweconsulate.co.za) that the 8th of April, 2011 will be the deadline for the collection of passports from their Johannesburg offices. We view this as an empty threat – it is their responsibility to deliver the passports to where applicants applied for them; sooner or later they must deliver on this responsibility.

This view was vindicated yesterday, when one Zimbabwean Consulate official suggested that the April 8th deadline for passport collections is fictitious. Also, he reportedly informed applicants that the Consulate was moving its offices from one location to another in Johannesburg. The specific details of this relocation, as well as the reasons behind it,  however, remain unclear. It is time that the Zimbabwean authorities deliver this vital service to its people, rather than being untruthful and playing games.

While PASSOP has in recent months applauded the efforts by the South African government to roll out the special dispensation to Zimbabweans, we now urge it to complete the documentation process in a fair and transparent manner. This means increasing the pressure on the Zimbabwean authorities to deliver the passports, if need be.

We remain highly suspicious that the problems surrounding the delivery of passports might be part of broader motivations by the Zimbabwean government to obstruct this documentation project. We resolutely condemn the improbity displayed by the Zimbabwean Consulate on this issue, since it epitomizes the degree of injustices and inequities that Zimbabweans have endured at the hands of their own government.

To contact the Zimbabwe Consulate, call Chris Mapanga on 0721585219 or contact their general lines at 0118382156-59.

For comments from PASSOP, please contact:  Braam Hanekom 0843191764, Langton Miriyoga 0840269658.