THE Zimbabwean government has appealed to South Africa that special permits issued to its citizens be extended when they expire at the end of next year,” says Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to SA Isaac Moyo.
Speaking at the sidelines of the ongoing bilateral talks, Moyo told reporters in Harare that the Zimbabweans had asked SA to renew the permits, ahead of SA president Jacob Zuma’s visit tomorrow.
The renewal of the special-dispensation permits of the about 260 000 Zimbabweans in South Africa hinge on talks which are due to take place this week in Harare between the two governments, he says.
ZimsInSA.com columnist Ngqabutho Mabhena, says for ZSP permits to be renewed, buy in from the Zimbabwean government is necessary, though Home Affairs minister Malusi has dug in, saying the permit will NOT be renewed.
Moyo has been quoted in the SA media saying the large number of undocumented Zimbabweans staying in SA illegally poses a security threat to Pretoria, and Zimbabwe’s interests in that country,
“I think this is an issue which impacts on the security of South Africa and it also impacts on the interests of Zimbabwe because we cannot have such a large number of people carrying no documentation at all,” he says.
There are no known official figures of exactly how many Zimbabweans are living in SA, with Moyo accusing some media and NGOs of exaggerating the number but says the issue was likely to be discussed at the ongoing bilateral meeting in Harare.
“I have no doubt that this will be one of the issues (Home Affairs Minister Ignatius Chombo will very keenly want to take up with his South African counterpart.The initial discussion did not resolve this issue but we had very good discussions,” he says.
Moyo also expressed concern at the huge number of Zimbabweans in South African prisons, which he said ran into a couple of thousands.
“It is unfortunate that we have a couple of thousands who are also linked to crime and that we continue to commit these crimes, some of them very serious,” he said, adding the government of Zimbabwe did not condone any form of crime. – Patience Rusere