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Details of new permits for Zimbabweans in South Africa

ZIMBABWEANS living in South Africa who received special permits through the 2009 Dispensation of Zimbabweans Project have until December 31 to apply for a new special permit in order to continue their stay in the country until 2017, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said on Tuesday.

The special five-year dispensation allowed about 245,000 Zimbabweans Zimbabweans to extend their stay in South Africa.

Mr Gigaba told reporters on Tuesday morning that the special permits given to Zimbabwean nationals would begin expiring in December and the department had taken the decision to roundly end the validity of all of these permits on December 31.

The termination of these special permits — given to those who could not meet requirements for a desired visa — makes way for the introduction of the Zimbabwean Special Dispensation Permit which will be valid until 2017.

“As of January 1 2015 no one will still be holding the Dispensation of Zimbabweans Project permit,” Mr Gigaba said.

Mr Gigaba said applications to obtain a Zimbabwean Special Dispensation Permit would open on October 1 and close on December 31. Only those who initially entered the process which began in 2009 would be able to apply. Those who were awarded the new permits may continue their stay in South Africa but were required to go to Zimbabwe and apply for a relevant visa after the 2017 expiration.

Mr Gigaba said there were conditions to the application of the new permit.

“These conditions include, but are not limited to, a valid Zimbabwean passport, evidence of employment, business or study and a clear criminal record (approved by the South African Police Service),” Mr Gigaba said.

Mr Gigaba said the process would be expeditious, because all eligible persons were already on the home affairs database and the process would be done through an electronic system managed by VFS Global.

People Against Suffering and Oppression spokesman Braam Hanekom welcomed the announcement as the new regime extends the stay of Zimbabweans in South Africa while protecting working migrants from exploitation in the South African labour market.

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