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Zimbabweans in S.Africa Worried by Pretoria's Permit Move

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma.
Zimbabweans working in South Africa are disheartened by Pretoria’s move compelling them to go back home to renew special work permits set to expire in November.

Some Zimbabweans are now contemplating challenging the South African government in the courts while others say they are seeking dialogue with President Jacob Zuma’s government.

Acting South African cabinet spokesperson, Phumla Williams, confirmed to the VOA that Zimbabweans who were given permits under the special Dispensation for Zimbabweans Project (DZP) in 2009 would be allowed to re-apply but only from their country of origin.

“The dispensation aimed to document Zimbabwean nationals who were in South Africa illegally as a result of the political and socio-economic crisis in Zimbabwe,” she said.
This allowed them to work or study in South Africa under relaxed conditions while deportations were shelved.

Authorities from both countries held a series of meetings ahead of the special dispensation in 2009. Williams did not say whether deportations would resume at the expiration of the permits.

“The Minister of Home Affairs will hold a separate briefing session to elaborate on how the process will unfold,” she said.

Spokesman Daniel Muzenda of the Zimbabwe Migrants Association says his organization is pursuing dialogue for now.

“We are engaging the Zimbabwe embassy in South Africa first to kick start the talks,” said Muzenda. “If we don’t get a positive answer by Wednesday, we will approach the South African government.”

The Migrant Workers Association of South Africa says it will be going to court to challenge the move by Pretoria saying they have information that the permits would not be renewed once they apply from Zimbabwe.