Cabinet has approved the reopening of the application process for the current Zimbabwean Special Permit holders, under certain conditions.
The initial Special Dispensation for Zimbabweans was approved in April 2009 to document Zimbabwean nationals who were in South Africa illegally.
Their permits expire on 31 December 2017.
The ZSP allows applications from Zimbabweans with a valid Zimbabwean passport, evidence of employment, business or accredited study and a clear criminal record and if successful grants them a permit to stay and work, study or run a business in South Africa.
About 200 000 Zimbabweans in possession of the special permit are currently working or studying in the country.
The cut-off date for receiving ZSP applications was December 2014. The applications were received by VFS Global and adjudicated over by the Department of Home Affairs.
The special permits were introduced to allow Zimbabweans a three-year residency in South Africa.
A similar initiative was granted for the Basotho nationals who were in the country illegally. The LSP allows for Lesotho nationals to live in South Africa legally.
At the time of the introduction of the LSP, the Department of Home Affairs said the special permits were only for those Lesotho citizens registered in the National Population Register of Lesotho.
South Africa granted an amnesty to Basotho in possession of fraudulently acquired documentation, so that they can surrender such documents, without the fear of arrest or deportation. Applicants receive amnesty letters as proof.
Zimbabweans In SA Ask Government To Reduce Passport Processing Fees
Zimbabweans based in South Africa have appealed to government to reduce the passport processing fees saying they could not afford the current costs since their income has been negatively affected by COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.
The Zimbabwe Community in South Africa, said they had not been spared the COVID-19 economic hardships and hence the request for downward review of passport fees.
Zimbabweans based abroad are expected to pay US$318 for new passports. “We call on the government to reduce the passport fee in solidarity with the working people who are under global lockdown following the outbreak of coronavirus,” the Zimbabwe Community in South Africa spokesperson, Bongani Mazwi Mkwananzi said.
“A caring government will reduce the passport fees by at least 50% and still recoup passport production costs.”
The Registrar-General’s office says it is failing to clear a backlog of 300 000 applications due to foreign currency shortages to import consumables such as ink, films, ribbon and passport paper.
They also want the embassy in that country to be fully equipped to process passport applications, rather than the current situation where they have to return to Zimbabwe to hand in the application forms.
Zimbabwe Community in South Africa spokesperson, Bongani Mazwi, was quoted by the Herald newspaper on Thursday as saying that the organization had since engaged Zimbabwe’s ambassador to South Africa over the matter.
“We call on the government to reduce the passport fees in solidarity with the working people who are under global lockdown following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mazwi said.
He said the government could cut the passport fee by 50 percent and still recoup production costs.
The request by Zimbabweans in South Africa comes after the Zimbabwe government announced that its diplomatic mission in South Africa had introduced a gradual resumption of consular services to facilitate the repatriation of those in need of returning home.
This follows the recent relaxation of lockdown measures by the South African government.
The Zimbabwean government last year introduced a policy to charge citizens living in the Diaspora in U.S. dollars for production of passports, as a way to help it raise foreign currency to import consumables required in production of passports.
It pegged the fee at $318 US dollars.
Most Zimbabweans living in the Diaspora have had their income streams affected by the pandemic, with students in particular, being the most affected.
This has resulted in many students opting to come back home, with government in some cases assisting with their repatriation.
“It has become painfully clear that one must fork out this huge amount to get a passport processed, otherwise they will wait months for a passport to be issued. Many have reported that they were told to top-up as long as their passports hold a work permit,” Mkwananzi said as he lamented the slow pace it takes the RG’s office to process passports.
Government in March this year gazetted Statutory Instrument 61 of 2020 to enable applicants to pay passport fees in foreign currency
Ramaphosa: We are reviewing foreign special permits
Foreigners in South Africa must brace for possible huge changes in immigration laws as the country plans to tighten screws on the employment of foreigners.
Last week President Cyril Ramaphosa told Parliament that he has put in place an inter-ministerial committee (IMC) that will review employment laws. He mentioned that the IMC will look into the special dispensation permits awarded to Zimbabwean and Lesotho citizens in the country.
“The IMC will also review the decisions on special dispensation work permits, amendments to our Immigration Act, Employment Services Act and labour migration management,” Ramaphosa said.
He said the country will ensure that they employ only skilled foreigners. “We must ensure that our approach to the employment of foreign nationals provides and addresses the issue of scarce critical skills that we need to grow our economy,” said Ramaphosa.
The issue of foreigners has been a hot topic in the past few years with jobless South African citizens calling for foreigners to leave. The country has witnessed several incidents of attack on foreign nations in the past decade. Recently, foreign truck drivers were attacked by local drivers who demanded companies to employ only locals.
“In the end, we need to deal with the challenge our people always talk about, a challenge of foreign nationals who are here in great numbers in our country. We need to deal with it properly, politically and we need to deal with it historically,” added Ramaphosa.
Recently top Cabinet ministers such as Tito Mboweni and Fikile Mbalula have openly advocated for employment of locals ahead of foreigners.
Ramaphosa, however called locals not to blame foreigners for the current economic woes the country is going through. – DiasporaLIVE
Zimbo, working as high-ranking SA government official, nabbed for being an illegal immigrant
A high-ranking government official, allegedly from Zimbabwe, has been arrested for allegedly living in South Africa illegally.
According to a source, the man – who holds a top position in the Mpumalanga provincial government – was arrested by Home Affairs’ immigration officers on Tuesday in Pretoria where he lives.
The man is allegedly a Zimbabwean who has not only been living in South Africa illegally but was allegedly found with three passports.
One of the passports is said to be a South African one; the other two are allegedly from other countries.
Home Affairs spokesperson Thabo Mokgola was contacted for comment but he referred all questions to the Hawks.
However, Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi of the Hawks said they did not make the arrest and referred IZIM back to Mokgola who said he would check.
However, he had not yet responded at the time of publication.
According to Mpumalanga province spokesperson Sibongile Mkani-Mpolweni, the man is a head of department at the Department of Human Settlements and has been in his position for the past three years.
“He was arrested by immigration officers on Tuesday. The premier does not know what he was arrested for and is awaiting the court case to find out all that information.
“He has been remanded in custody in Pretoria,” she said.