Thousands of Zimbos in SA face deportation

THOUSANDS of Zimbabweans based in South Africa face deportation after failing to raise R1 350 required for transferring their permits from old to new passports.

by Nqobile Bhebhe

Zimbabwe Community in South Africa chairperson Ngqabutho Mabhena confirmed the fears yesterday.

“The majority of people have permits now. About 12 000 people were rejected. Those whose permits were initially rejected have since received them,” he said.

“It’s only those who are transferring from an old passport to a new one (who might face challenges).

“The permit application was R800, but transferring is now more expensive. It’s not only that people are required to pay R1350. The challenge though is what happens in 2017, as the majority of special permit holders don’t qualify for normal permits.”

In the past two years, the South African government has been issuing special permits under a special dispensation for Zimbabweans.

As of November last year, South Africa had approved 197 790 permits out of a total of 208 967 applications made under the Zimbabwe Special Permits (ZSP) programme.

ZSP, which was introduced in August 2014, allows Zimbabwean holders of the special permits to work, conduct business or study in South Africa for three years.

The programme replaced the Dispensation for Zimbabwe Project (DZP), which ran from May 2009 to December 31, 2010.

During the DZP, 295 000 Zimbabweans applied for permits and about 249 000 were successful, with the remainder not getting them due to lack of passports or non-fulfilment of other requirements.

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