SOUTH AFRICAN Home Affairs minister Malusi Gigaba is expected to further consult Cabinet on the emotive extension of Zimbabwean permits and announce a decision before August 15 amid indications that most permits would be reviewed.
Gigaba and his Zimbabwe counterpart Kembo Mohadi held talks in Pretoria last week seeking common ground on the permits dispensation time frame which was due to expire before the end of the year.
Most permits issued to about 250 000 Zimbabweans in 2009 to legalise their stay in South Africa have expired, thereby fuelling anxiety.
Zimbabwe Community in South Africa (ZCSA) chairperson Ngqabutho Mabhena told our sister paper Southern Eye that they were hopeful that “Gigaba will stick to his timeline as some permits have expired and Zimbabweans are getting worried”.
“Gigaba is to consult over the issues discussed with Mohadi in their meeting in Pretoria. All issues that are of concern to Zimbabwe nationals resident in South Africa were raised with Gigaba by Mohadi,” Mabhena said.
“It should be noted that a few weeks ago, Gigaba informed Parliament that he was to make an announcement on or before August 15 2014 on the issue of special permits issued to Zimbabweans four years ago. We believe that Gigaba will stick to his timeline as some permits have expired and Zimbabweans are getting worried.”
He appealed to the affected “Zimbabweans to allow Gigaba to do the necessary consultations”.
Prior to meeting Gigaba, Mohadi held preparatory talks with ZCSA representatives.
ZCSA is an organisation assisting Zimbabweans to comply with the new South African permit system.
During the meeting, the ZCSA team advocated for permit holders to be issued with “at least two-year extension. This will allow those who want to apply for permanent residence to do so”.
It was also suggested that 6 000 Zimbabweans who had South African identity documents and responded to the amnesty should be allowed to apply for permanent residence.
Scores of the permits beneficiaries are said to have acquired and registered properties using South African IDs, including drivers’ licences and various insurance policies.