By A Correspondent- South Africa’s Cabinet on Wednesday resolved to discontinue the issuance of special dispensation permits which had been extended to over 200 000 Zimbabweans working in that country since 2009.
As a relief measure, South Africa will allow a 12-month grace period at the expiry of the current ZEP on December 31.
The State-owned Herald newspaper reports that South Africa’s Cabinet spokespersonPhumla Williams said those Zimbabweans who previously benefited from the special dispensation permits were now free to apply for other permits appropriate to their particular status or situation.
“Cabinet considered the much-talked about ZEP and also noted the fake news being spread on these permits,” she said.
“The first Zimbabwean special dispensation started in 2009 and was called the Dispensation for Zimbabwe Permit. It provided for the documentation of qualifying Zimbabweans for a five-year period.
“In 2014, the dispensation was extended by three years and called the Zimbabwean Special Permit. The current ZEP was initiated in 2017 and comes to an end on 31 December 2021.
“Following its deliberations, Cabinet decided to no longer issue extensions to the Zimbabwean special dispensations. However, it decided on a 12-month grace period at the expiry of the current ZEP.”
She said that at the end of the 12-month grace period, those who will have failed to successfully apply for other permits will have to leave South Africa or be deported.
Recently, the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) said the major reason for the migration in Africa, which usually ended up in South Africa, was “due to its middle-income status, stable democratic institutions, and comparatively industrialised economy”.
It said South Africa hosted the largest number of immigrants on the African continent. Official South African government statistics say 2.9 million people living in South Africa are foreigners.
The majority, 24% are from Zimbabwe, followed by Mozambique with 12%. Lesotho 7%, Malawi 3%, Botswana, Eswatini, Angola, Somalia each contribute 2% to the foreign population.