Saturday, 28 November 2015

Almost 200 000 Zimbabweans now live legally in South Africa

Nearly 200,000 Zimbabweans are now living legally in South Africa thanks to a special permit programme for Zimbabweans.

Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said the programme, launched last October, has almost been concluded.

The programme aims to give amnesty to Zimbabweans who had been living in the country without proper documentation.

Gigaba said more than 200,000 applications were received as part of the permit programme.

He says more than 197,000 were approved and just 160 have yet to be finalised.

The permits are valid until 2017 and those who want to stay longer will have to apply for normal visas.

Gigaba also announced cabinet has approved a similar project for Lesotho nationals.
File Picture of Zimbabweans standing in a long queue at a Home Affairs Office in South Africa
Permits will be issued for working or studying Basotho people who entered the country before September.

The department also said people traveling in and out of South Africa still need to follow its new visa regulations while it works to implement amendments.

The department has refuted claims that it’s dragging its feet to avoid making changes recommended by an inter-ministerial committee.

Last month, the committee called for visa laws demanding biometric testing and unabridged birth certificates for children traveling into the country to be amended.

This week British actor Idris Elba was unable to enter the country after failing to produce an unabridged certificate for his daughter.

Home Affairs spokesperson, Mayihlome Tshwete says the new laws still remain in place while amendments are underway.

“We agreed with our staff at the department, the Department of Social Development, the Department of Tourism, the Department of Defence and the Department of Trade And Industry. It was a diverse collective that agreed to these timelines and the department is not in contravention or overrunning those timelines.” Eye Witness News
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