Press Statement: PASSOP urges all foreigners to cooperate in the 2011 Census

PRESS STATEMENT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PASSOP urges all foreigners to cooperate in the 2011 Census

PASSOP regrets the recent decision by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) to lift the moratorium on deportations of undocumented Zimbabweans (particularly the unaccountable and underhand manner in which it was done). However, we fully appreciate the importance of the Census 2011 gathering accurate statistics and would like to urge all foreigners, whether documented or undocumented, to come forward and be counted.

We have recently seen the DHA claim that the majority of undocumented Zimbabweans were documented under the Zimbabwean Documentation Project (ZDP) (which the Department is now referring to as the Documentation of Zimbabweans Project (DZP)). However, the DZP was highly criticized by some organisations who claimed that the vast majority of undocumented Zimbabweans were not given an opportunity to apply. Whichever the case, what is certain is that there are currently no accurate statistics for the number of immigrants in South Africa and this is therefore subject to much debate. We must all try our best to assist in establishing how many people are living in South Africa.

It is unfortunate that the DHA chosen this time to restart the deportation of Zimbabweans, the first time in over two years that Zimbabweans will be deported, as it undermines this effort.

Following our concern we have gotten assurances from the Statistician General of Stats SA, Mr. Pali Lehohla, that under no circumstances would the gathering of data for the census be used as a tool in deporting undocumented foreigners. No Census 2011 volunteer wearing a yellow Stats SA shirt, carry a Census ID card identifying him/herself appropriately should be viewed as a threat to undocumented foreigners. None of the specific information that is taken will be released to immigration officials.

Ultimately, it is in the interest of undocumented immigrants and of government for South Africa to have accurate statistics on the number of foreigners in the country.  If you are not counted, you might not count!

For comment please call:  Nonki Simakade (0768862738) or Bernard Toyambi (0731219625).

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