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Special Permit Seekers in South Africa Panic as ZSP Scheme Ends

Hundreds of Zimbabweans who applied for special permits in South Africa are now living in fear as they are still waiting for their permits, a day before the programme ends Wednesday.

Thousands of people whose applications were rejected fear that they may soon be deported by state security agents.

Zimbabwe Exiles Forum’s Diana Zimbudzana says her organisation wrote to the Home Affairs Ministry in May seeking a clarification of the status of rejected permit seekers and others that have not yet obtained a response from the immigration authorities.

"We wrote to the Home Affairs Ministry asking about the appeals process and if it were possible to appeal and also what would happen to those Zimbabweans who fail to collect their permits when the programme shuts down tomorrow, but have not had a response yet," said Zimbudzana.

SHe urged those that have not yet collected their permits to go the the VFS offices in their neighborhoods to find out what action to take next.

Last month South African Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba, told journalists that his office received over 200,000 ZSP permit applications for adjudication.

Out of this number 185,075 applications were approved and the majority of them dispatched and collected. Over 12,000 applications were rejected.

Minister Gigaba warned that all permits that will not be collected after this date will be declared invalid.

Gigaba also emphasized that after the expiry of all ZSP permits on 31 December 2017, the permit holders will be expected to return to Zimbabwe as these will not be renewed.