Yesterday the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) announced that Cabinet approved the renewal of permits issued under the Special Dispensation for Zimbabweans. The statement says the Minister of Home Affairs will "in due course provide more clarity on the process to be followed and the date of commencement."
The DHA statement "noted recent reports in print and online media on the coming expiry of permits issued to Zimbabwean nationals under the special dispensation, from 2009. This was to document those who were in South Africa illegally as a result of the political and socio-economic situation in their country. The permits will expire approximately December 2014."
The statement claims that the special dispensation allowed nearly 250,000 Zimbabweans to be "regularized".
Anthony Muteti of PASSOP, an immigrants human rights organisation, said they are happy with the announcement. However he said the DHA should clarify if the recent media reports are true that Zimbabweans should go back and renew their permits from Zimbabwe. He said that logistically it is a nightmare for people to travel all the way to Zimbabwe. It is expensive, the systems in Zimbabwe are dysfunctional and there is unchecked corruption, he said.
He also said that a lot of people currently employed would lose their work if they have to travel to Zimbabwe. Muteti said that the DHA needs to clarify the renewal process and warned that all the permits are expiring at once.