Amid earlier concerns that the deadline would not be extended, the Department of Home Affairs, itself having failed to meet it in processing the permits, extended the collection period to October 15 and indicated that even that one might still be subject to some flexibility.
â€œThe Visa Facilitation Centres will be closed on October 15, but Zimbabweans will continue to collect their permits at places that the department will announce after that date,â€ said an official from the DHA. â€œFor instance there is a VFS office in Rivonia, which can be used, but we hope Home Affairs will make an announcement soon.â€
After the South African government had initially maintained that the collection date would not be extended beyond September 30, thousands of panicking prospective permit holders thronged the VFS offices.
Many were shocked to discover that their permits were â€œnot ready for collectionâ€ but rejoiced when they were told that the collection date had been extended. The DHA has since started to deliver processed permits to the VFS offices on a daily basis, meaning all documents might have been delivered by mid-October.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwean Community in South Africa, a non-governmental organisation that played middle-man between the DHA and Zimbabweans during the process, this week expressed satisfaction in the manner the process was handled.
â€œWe believe the process was fair,â€ said Zim Community in SA chairman, Ngqabutho Mabhena, who recently won an award for playing a key role in helping his fellow countrymen leaving in the neighbouring country.Post published in: Africa News