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South Africa: Home Affairs Addresses Temporary Residence Permits Backlog

Pretoria — The Department of Home Affairs has finalised the adjudication of backlog applications for temporary residence permits that were at the head office's central adjudication hub.

Briefing reporters on Friday, Deputy Minister Fatima Chohan said the backlog was estimated at just over 46 000 on 6 January 2012. The department had established a team of adjudicators to manage the backlog. A separate unit was established to clear applications from educational institutional.

The applications were for study and work permits from all recognised South African educational institutions to ensure that applications for teachers and lecturers were prioritised. This would allow applicants to take up teaching and lecturing posts at relevant institutions.

"Moving forward, the department requests that any applicant who has applied for a temporary residence permit between December 2010 and January 2012 or any time before December 2012 who has not heard from us must submit their copies of the applications to Elizabeth.aphane@dha.go.za or fax 086 532 6320," said the deputy minister.

The deputy minister said steps had been put in place to ensure that backlogs did not accumulate by increasing the department's capacity to ensure that the current applications were dealt with.

"One of the things that we put in place is that we realised that the backlog was going back beyond 2010 and in December 2010, we put in place a track and place system similar to the one with IDs to enable us to keep abreast of applications.

"At the moment we don't have backlogs," she said.

On the issue of the Documentation of Zimbabwean Project (DZP), 279 336 applications had been finalised from the initial applications that were received prior to the closing date of the ZDP on 31 December 2010.

The department was able to conclude the applications through processing them per province. According to the department, all applications for DZP from all provinces except Gauteng have been finalised.

"The department shall endeavour to finalise the remaining 15 175 applications from Gauteng by the end of September," it said.

The ideal time it takes to process a temporary residence permit is eight weeks.

Meanwhile, as a result of fires that swept through the department's Durban offices, sections of the office have been closed down. The sections closed include those dealing with the issuance of IDs, passports, registration of births, marriage and death.

The fire began in the server room destroying the server.

The department said that the public requiring the issuance of IDs, passports and the like in the meantime can approach the Umgeni office (350 Umgeni Road in Durban) or the nearest other office for assistance.

The deputy minister said the damage to the office "is not insignificant", adding that the investigations are underway to determine the cause of the fire.

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