SA pours cold water on permit plan

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South Africa’s Home Affairs department yesterday said it was not aware of any decision or agreement to begin a second process of regularising the illegal stay of Zimbabweans in South Africa.

Responding to comments by Home Affairs co-minister Kembo Mohadi in an interview with NewsDay, spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa said he was not aware of such plans.

“I’m not aware of anything to that effect, that’s all I can tell you.”

Mohadi was quoted as saying Zimbabwean officials would be meeting their South African counterparts in the New Year to begin “the second phase”.

“Last year, we engaged the South African government on regularising (the stay for) our people, but many were initially suspicious.

“They thought that we wanted to arrest them. But they are now coming up in large numbers and we hope we will be able to have them regularised,” he said.

The process had also failed to deal with as many people as possible because of large numbers that needed permits.

“We are going to engage (South Africa) early next year, to get into the second phase,” Mohadi said.
In April last year, Pretoria announced a moratorium on the deportation of Zimbabweans.

They were granted a special dispensation in order to get documents and make their stay in South Africa legal.

A total of 275 762 applications for permits were received, according to South Africa’s Home Affairs department.

An official at the Zimbabwean Consulate in Johannesburg declined to comment on the matter yesterday, saying he had not read the newspaper report.