THE Zimbabwe Community in South Africa (ZCSA) is seeking an audience with newly-appointed Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo to apprise him on “sticking immigration challenges”.
BY NQOBILE BHEBHE
ZCSA is an organisation assisting Zimbabweans to comply with the new South African permit system and immigration requirements.
The lobby group’s chairperson Ngqabutho Mabhena told Southern Eye in an interview yesterday they were keen to interact with Chombo though the Zimbabwean embassy in South Africa.
“We would like a meeting with him through the Zimbabwe embassy to brief him about the work we do and solicit his views,” Mabhena said.
He said ZCSA was grateful to former Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi who was instrumental in “thrashing out a fair permits deal” for Zimbabwean immigrants in the neighbouring country.
The permits issue has remained a thorny one in the aftermath of South Africa’s setting of new regulations compelling Zimbabweans to compulsorily register.
South Africa first issued the special permits in 2010 to regularise the stay of illegal Zimbabwean immigrants in that country that conservative figures put at around two million.
The permits expired last year before the special dispensation was extended to 2017 and permit holders were required to apply for renewals.
Zimbabweans whose applications for work and business permits were turned down were recently given a lifeline after appeals.
The South African government is expected to issue Zimbabweans with the new special permits by end of July.
South Africa’s Home Affairs department has reportedly processed more than 100 000 special dispensation permits for Zimbabweans since October last year.
The permits were given to Zimbabweans who at the time held the Zimbabwean Special Dispensation Permit (ZSDP) valid until December 31 2017.
A ZSDP permit allows Zimbabweans to remain in South Africa and apply for a visa relevant to terms of stay in that country.
Millions of Zimbabweans are scattered across the globe fleeing political, economic and social upheaval at home, with the majority of them in South Africa.