HOME Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi reportedly told the Zimbabwe Community in South Africa (ZCSA) that the local economy is too small to absorb close to 250 000 locals who risk being deported and said there was need for the special dispensation programme to be extended.
The ZCSA is an organisation assisting Zimbabweans to comply with the new South African permit system.
Last week, South African Home Affairs minister Malusi Gigaba hinted that his ministry would not extend special permits granted to Zimbabweans under the Zimbabwe Document Project by a year saying there would be an influx of permanent residence applications.
“l want to be blunt. 250 000 Zimbabweans are holders of these permits. Once you extend with one year, 250 000 Zimbabweans will apply for permanent residence citizenship and that will be a shock to the system and the government,” Gigaba said.
The ZCSA chairperson Ngqabutho Mabhena told Southern Eye that the organisation had a “very progressive meeting with the minister (Mohadi) over the legal status of Zimbabweans in South Africa”.
“The meeting agreed on the following; that the minister will soon meet his South African counterpart to discuss issues around the special dispensation programme,” Mabhena said.
“The minister says there was no way that the Zimbabwean economy can absorb all Zimbabweans hence the need for the special dispensation programme to be extended by the South Africans.”
Mabhena said Mohadi had tasked them with producing a detailed proposal that reflected the diversity of Zimbabweans in South Africa.
The document should have submissions from the Zimbabwe businesspeople in South Africa, workers and students.
More than 250 000 Zimbabweans were issued with permits in the 2009 special dispensation programmes to legalise their stay in South Africa. The permits expire before the end of the year.
South Africa has been introducing a raft of strict measures to regulate foreigners in that country.
Under the new regulations, foreigners would have to travel back to their home countries to apply for new permits once they expire.