WASHINGTON — South African authorities say the government will soon announce modalities of processing expiring work permits for Zimbabweans working in that country.
Home Affairs spokesman David Hlabane told VOA Studio 7 the new minister is expected to spell out the work permit application process.
“The Home Affairs minister is still to announce what is going to happen particularly with regards to the process around the reapplication for the special permits for Zimbabwean nationals in South Africa,” said Hlabane.
Hlabane dismissed as untrue reports that Zimbabweans with permits expiring in December will have to go back home to reapply for new permits.
“All these reports are unfounded, I must put that very categorically. There is no truth or grain of truth in those reports,” he said.
Regis Ngwerume, a Zimbabwean based in South Africa, said there is a lot of confusion over the processing of work permits.
“At one stage we heard news from home that the South African government will start requiring visas from us once again. All this is done by our country men and women and this is too misleading,” said Ngwerume.
Director of the Zimbabwe Migrants’ Association, Daniel Muzenda, concurred saying the situation was unclear even though South African authorities had been trying to clarify the issue.
More than 200 000 Zimbabweans were issued with permits in the 2009 special dispensation process.
At least three million Zimbabweans are estimated to be living in South Africa.
The majority of them are in that country illegally and are not documented. There are fears that South Africa will resume large scale deportations when the new dispensation expires in December.
However, most often the majority of those who are deported quickly find their way back to the neighbouring country because of the high unemployment rate in Zimbabwe.
Meanwhile, a new South African Cabinet was expected to be sworn in this weekend following recent elections, which were won by the ANC.
– VOA/Staff Reporter