Wie bereits berichtet, gehen die umstrittenen Deportationen von Zimbabwern in Südafrika in ihr Heimatland weiter. Eine Lösung des Problems scheint nicht in naher Zukunft erreichbar zu sein.

The Home Affairs department has lashed out at a refugee NGO that raised concerns over "renewed" deportations of undocumented Zimbabweans.

On Wednesday, the People Against Suffering, Oppression and Poverty (Passop) issued a statement saying it was "extremely concerned" about the deportation of Zimbabweans by the Department of Home Affairs.

The organisation claimed this would, among other things, undermine the census which begins next Monday.

Passop said despite having no formal confirmation, public admission or statement from Home Affairs, it was convinced that the department had lifted the country's moratorium on deporting Zimbabweans.

"The deportation of Zimbabweans resumes at a very sensitive time, with revelations in recent months of abuse of asylum seekers at refugee reception centres compromising their right to apply for refugee status.

"It also begins in direct contradiction to the recent undertakings made by the Department of Home Affairs' director-general, Mkuseli Apleni, while addressing the parliamentary portfolio committee for home affairs, not to embark on deportations of Zimbabweans until the Zimbabwean documentation project has been completed, appeals reviewed and the minister approved deportations."

Passop said it was also concerned that efforts to get clarity on the number of people in South Africa were being undermined by the deportations.

"Despite Passop being reassured by South Africa's statistician-general, Pali Lehohla, that it will be safe for all immigrants to participate in the census, the department of Home Affairs has taken a seemingly unilateral decision.

"Fear and paranoia have begun among immigrants. It is obvious that sadly many immigrants in South Africa will 'go underground' into hiding and be unwilling to open doors to officials conducting the census."

Passop claimed the move would continue "to obscure" the actual number of Zimbabweans living in South Africa.

The department dismissed the organisation as not speaking on behalf of Zimbabweans. But it did not deny any of the matters raised by Passop.

In a statement, Home Affairs spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa said the majority of Zimbabweans living in this country were "law-abiding citizens who had done everything in their power to regularise their stay in South Africa by taking advantage of the Zimbabwean documentation project".

Mamoepa said no country in the world would allow illegal immigration within its borders. This was international practice and did not detract from the need to protect the rights of refugees and asylum seekers in line with our international obligations.

"Accordingly, those Zimbabweans living in South Africa and (who) had applied for the regularisation of their stay through the Zimbabwean documentation project have nothing to fear.

"Nobody who has applied for the regularisation of their stay in South Africa will be subject to deportation as their stay is protected in our rules and regulations."

Mamoepa added that: "However, those who did not take advantage of the regularisation project, including those who continue to undermine South Africa's immigration laws by entering the country illegally, cannot claim protection of the country's rules and regulations governing the regularisation of Zimbabweans living in South Africa." - Political Bureau, IOL South Africa