Zimbabweans in South Africa are set to get a lifeline to continue working, studying or running their businesses in that country following negotiations between Harare and Tshwane that will see an indefinite extension of the expiry of permits legalising their stay south of the Limpopo River.
South African authorities have been seeking to regularise the stay of qualifying Zimbabwean migrants through special dispensation permits.The permits, issued in 2013, became operational in 2014 and were to last through to 2017 but these required Zimbabweans to first return home so that they apply for an extension from here.
But The Sunday Mail understands that Zimbabweans in South Africa will no longer need to return to Zimbabwe to process their permits as the two governments are finalising modalities to extend the permit renewal deadline.Home Affairs Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo last week met his South African counterpart, Mr Malusi Gigaba, in Tshwane to discuss several issues pertaining to the documentation of Zimbabweans living in South Africa.
Issues discussed included setting up a mobile civil registration for Zimbabweans working on South African mines and farms.
“Issues discussed pertained to the special dispensation permits, with the possibility of extending them beyond expiring dates (of December 2017),” Dr Chombo said. “(We also want to establish) Mobile Civil Registration for Zimbabweans living in South Africa and Documentation of Zimbabweans without proper documentation.”
Dr Chombo and Mr Gigaba also agreed to set up a bilateral committee to come up with recommendations on how best to register Zimbabweans based in South Africa.
“The two ministers mutually agreed to have a working committee of officers from the two countries that will come up with recommendations for considerations by the ministers when we meet sometime in July,” said Dr Chombo.More than 200 000 Zimbabweans applied for permits in 2015.