Over 12,000 Zimbabwean Special Permit (ZSP) applications in South Africa have been rejected as the program nears its end on September 30th, 2015.
South African Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, revealed this at a media briefing in Pretoria, South Africa, on Monday.
Speaking to journalists, Gigaba said 99.7 percent of all the ZSP permit applications have been adjudicated so far.
He said out of the nearly 200,000 ZSP permit applications presented to his department for adjudication, 197,303 of them have been dealt with.
Out of this number, 185,075 applications have been approved and the majority of them dispatched and collected.
Gigaba said, “The bulk of the remaining work is administrative, involving printing and dispatching of outstanding ZSP certificates to VFS followed by clients collection of decisions. The good news is that the adjudication is almost complete leaving us with only 0.3 percent to adjudicate. The 30th of September 2015 is the target date of completion of outstanding tasks, including collections.”
However, for some Zimbabweans who applied for the ZSP permits, the minister’s announcement brought bad news. Over 12,000 applications were rejected.
Gigaba said, “Rejected applications are 12,228, which constitute 6.2 percent of the total applications. The 12,228 cases are being reviewed this month, to ensure the integrity of the final decision on the rejection and to prevent unwarranted appeal applications.”
For some, like Godknows Sibanda, the announcement that the process is closing in September has left them with more questions than answers.
Sibanda said, “I’m not happy, not at all. I applied last year in November the 4th. I don’t even know whether it has been declined or it's still being processed and I don’t even know why it has taken so much time for me to actually get the outcome. Precisely, it’s around eight months now. I still haven’t heard the outcome and I still don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Sibanda said the delay has cost him dearly.
"Right now there is nothing that I can do. Even if I want to take a contract phone and anything else they always tell me that my passport is not ready. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, I don’t even know what’s going to happen. Even at the banks, I’m even scared what’s going to happen because I have got accounts and so forth, so I don’t know what’s going to happen there."
However, Minister Gigaba insisted that all decisions will be available for collection before September 30th.
He 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.