JOHANNESBURG – Â AN estimated 250 000 Zimbabweans who are at various stages of getting their permits risk being deported if they leave SA without getting their permits, warns the Zimbabwe Migrants Association (ZMA).
”One of our members who want to Â go to Zimbabwe was told at a VSF() office in Bloemfonetein that if she could not leave the country (SA) because her permit application is being processed. When she called Home Affairs thats what she was told and Â we have received reports all over the country Â about the same problem, ” says ZMA spokesperson Daniel Muzenda.
The Â Zimbabweans were given the Â green light by the SA government to Â extend their Â stay of the permit holders up to December 2017 Â under the Zimbabwe Special Permit (ZSP).
“What is strange is that this regulation was never Â brought up during our negotiations with the department of Home Affairs in the initial process. Besides this is not fair or necessary because a person should be able to travel outside SA as long as they have proof that they have applied and that their application is being processed,”says Muzenda.
”We don’t understand the logic behind this,” adds Muzenda. “Of course one can jump the border but they risk getting caught and deported for good.”
Efforts to get a comment from the SA department of home affairs were unsuccessful, while Muzenda they are still trying to get an appointment with the Minister of Home Affairs to seek clarity over the issue.
“We have had no response so far and the main problem we have is that this issue is a sensitive issue, which has political ramifications,” and therefore answers are not always readily available.”
Not only will the risk of being denied re-entry Â affect holidaymakers, but those who have been bereaved may not be able to cross the border to mourn their relatives and friends.
“People like drivers who have to travel to countries like the DRC, Malawi etc will be Â and are being affected,” says Muzenda.
According to Muzenda more than 120 000 Zimbabweans have applied online as the first stage of getting processed.
“People have to remember that applying does not guarantee getting your permit extended. If you look at the questions the South African are asking are about what your educational and academic qualifications are Â and of what benefit can you be to the SA economy, so mere gardeners and maids may have problems, while professionals such as teachers and nurses have higher chances of getting their permits extended.”
If you have questions about this programme Â you can call Daniel Muzenda on 074 266 4202