The Zimbabwe government has encouraged all its citizens in South Africa to follow the laws in the neighbouring country. This comes after the South African government announced that it would not be renewing the special permits issued to Zimbabwe nationals under the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit programme.
The SA government’s decision has not been welcomed by close to 182,000 Zimbabweans who hold the permit. They have been given a year’s grace to migrate to other permits to allow them to stay in South Africa.
While encouraging its citizens to follow the law in South Africa, the Zimbabwe government said it would engage their southern counterparts over the matter.
Zimbabwe’s ambassador to South Africa, David Hamadziripi, said they would be engaging their counterparts for clarity on how they will implement the process.
Speaking to national broadcaster ZBC News, Ambassador Hamadziripi said,
What we will do is to engage the SA government for purposes of understanding the implementation so that there is little disruption to the nationals and so that we share the necessary information.
As you may be aware, the Zim exemption permit beneficiaries were in three categories. The professionals, some are self-employed or who have invested here and are tuning enterprises, and some students were benefitting from the ZEP.
The decision that has been taken now invited them to do what has always been the concept and intention behind ZEP, which was these individuals who were under the special dispensation were going to move to the normal immigration categories in this country.
This decision normalises the stay for citizens, so we encourage them to follow the procedures that will be laid out to apply for permits and visas that are relevant to their category and the process will follow its course and decisions will be taken by the South African government. We encourage our nationals to follow the law.
The ZEP permits will expire on 31 December, but there is a year’s grace to seek other permits to legalise the holder’s status in South Africa.
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