THE Zimbabwe Community in South Africa chairperson, Ngqabutho Mabhena, yesterday said Zimbabweans, who applied for permits in South Africa, will not be charged for overstaying in that country, despite some of them only being granted a five-day stay when they returned to their bases.
In the past days, there was reportedly commotion and crisis at the Beitbridge border post, as Zimbabweans returning to South Africa after the festive holiday are said only to be given five days to be in that country, including those with pending permit applications.
The national administrator for the Migrant Workers’ Association South Africa, Ezra Maplanka, told Southern Eye on Sunday that they had received a number of reports of people being given a limited stay in South Africa.
In clarifying the matter, Mabhena said the South Africa Home affairs department has rectified the issue with the immigration department.
“The former DZP (dispensation Zimbabwean permit) holders who were given less than 90 days should not panic,” he said. “No one will be charged for overstaying in the country (South Africa). This has been communicated to the management at the port of entry. There is no need to rush to any Home Affairs office or to the border to get the passport stamped.”
South Africa’s Home Affairs Department last year introduced new permits for Zimbabweans living in that country.
Zimbabweans had up to last December 31 to renew their permits.
Mabhena said there was no need to panic and appealed for calm, as an announcement would be made once senior managers at Home Affairs were back from the holidays.
“Home Affairs has contacted the South African Banking Association with regards frozen accounts over the expiry of DZP permits,” he said.
“The leadership of the banking association is now in talks with banks to ensure that accounts are not frozen and those frozen are reactivated.”
Last week, Mabhena said 206 170 Zimbabweans had applied for the Zimbabwe special permits, with 196 816 booking their appointments.