21 June 2014

Zimbabwe: SA Permits - Zim Seeks Pretoria Meeting

Photo: Kristy Siegfried/IRIN
Edeline Kupara, from Zimbabwe, queueing outside the Refugee Reception Office in Cape Town (file photo).

THE Zimbabwean government is keen to meet the South African authorities to discuss the possible renewal of permits introduced on foreigners in 2010 by President Jacob Zuma's administration.

Zimbabwe's acting ambassador to South Africa, Samuel Mhango, confirmed a meeting was pending between South African Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba and Zimbabwe's Kembo Mohadi on a date yet to be scheduled.

"We requested a meeting with the South African government and they are processing that and will come back to us with a date," Mhango confirmed to NewZimbabwe.com.

"I cannot tell you our position as the Zimbabwean government because we do not discuss such matters in the press.

"We will discuss critical issues involving permits, new regulations and issues affecting Zimbabweans. We want to come out with a solution which is best for Zimbabwe and South Africa."

South Africa is home to over a million Zimbabweans, the majority of them economic refugees. Of the population, a modest 250 000 Zimbabweans queued up to obtain the permits 2010.

But anxiety is mounting among Zimbabweans living across the Limpopo who are keen to see the documents revalidated.

Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Community in South Africa, Ngqabutho Mabhena told NewZimbabwe.com they have since met Mhango to vent their concerns.

"We met the acting ambassador and presented out position. We proposed that the South African government renew the Zimbabwean permits for one or two more years," he said.

"We also proposed that we renew the permits while in South Africa instead of Zimbabwe to protect our jobs."

Mabhena this month also met tripartite partners in the South African government to push for the renewal of the permits.

These include the ruling African National Congress, Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and South African Communist Party (SACP).

Mabhena said the tripartite partners are now consulting with their organisations about their proposals.

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