Zim citizens picket over Home Affairs

ZIMBABWE'S Movement for Democratic Change in KwaZulu-Natal yesterday expressed hope that acts of discrimination and violence on its members at the Durban Umbilo home affairs department are a thing of the past.

A large group of Zimbabweans held a legal picket outside the offices on Friday to draw attention to the "inhumane" way in which those seeking temporary permits were being treated.

About 300000 Zimbabweans are living in KwaZulu-Natal.

A meeting was later held between home affairs officials and local MDC leaders.

"Up to 500 applicants were queuing outside the office, some sleeping outside for two nights, because applications are processed only on a Friday," said MDC spokesperson Nhamo Chikowore.

"Even then, only 30percent are processed.

"We received reports that other foreigners are being given preference over Zimbabweans and some Zimbabweans are being assaulted by security guards outside the office."

He said after the meeting it was agreed that the MDC would help streamline applications so that the department was not inundated with hundreds of applications in one day.

"We will also liaise directly with the department from now on to sort out issues."

National Home Affairs spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa said all concerns were to be dealt with by the relevant home affairs centre.