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South Africa says it will announce the date when Zimbabweans whose permits expire in December can start re-applying for renewals.

This is contrary to media reports and claims by MDC-T’s South Africa branch that the country’s Home Affairs department had stopped renewing permits issued to Zimbabweans under a special dispensation in 2009.

Zimbabweans were issued with four-year renewable permits to legalise their stay in South Africa under the Zimbabwe Documentation Project.

A statement yesterday read: “The (SA) Department of Home Affairs has noted recent reports in print and online media on the coming expiry of permits issued to Zimbabwean nationals under the special dispensation, from 2009. This was to document those who were in South Africa illegally as a result of the political and socio-economic situation in their country. The permits will expire approximately December 2014.

“In this context, cabinet approved the approach on the expiry of permits issued under the special dispensation for Zimbabweans in terms of which permit-holders will be expected to re-apply for permits.

“As per cabinet decision, the Minister of Home Affairs will in due course provide more clarity on the process to be followed and the date of commencement.”

The department said the special dispensation allowed close to 250 000 Zimbabweans to have their stay in South Africa regularised.

“It enhanced national security and the management of migration and helped to mitigate widespread abuse of Zimbabweans illegally in the country, by corrupt employers and officials,” read the statement.

“The department will continue to combat illegal migration, crime, fraud and corruption. It is committed to providing a secured civic and immigration service ensuring all people in the country are safe.”

Source : The Herald