The South African Department of Home Affairs says Zimbabweans whose permits will expire at the end of next year will not be deported, says SA Home Affairs minister Malusi Gigaba.
“We had a discussion on the sidelines of the Migrants Mkhaya Awards (held yesterday) and we were assured by officials to remain calm and not panic. The Department is planning a new arrangement that will see ZSP holders stay legal after 2017, says Zims In SA ZSP columnist Ngqabutho Mabhena following a meeting with Gigaba at the sidelines of the Mkhaya Migrants Awards, which were held in Fourways yesterday.
Mabhena says Gigaba is expected to make a formal announcement early next year on the what will happen to ZSP permit holders.
“What is becoming clear though is that, the government will not ask the over 198 000 ZSP to go back to Zimbabwe. I have been told to ask you to enjoy your holidays and not worry about 2017 and avoid doing something illegal trying to change to an alternative permit,” he says.
“I have met some ZSP holders who are now trying to use illegal routes in extending their permits or in applying for alternative permits. Let us not use agents but wait for the announcement by the Dept of Home Affairs,” says Mabhena who also heads Zimbabwe Community SA.
However Mabhena says Gigaba has rejected the option of s SADC Work visa.
“You will know that the Green Paper on International Migration is proposing a SADC Work Visa, but the department says, the SADC Work Visa (if approved) will only come into effect sometime in 2018 when all ZSP will have expired,” explains Mabhena. –Patience Rusere