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Zimbabwe Groups Call for Permit Holder Deportation Reprieve

Regis Ngwerume, A Zimbabwean based in South Africa, said there is a lot of confusion over the processing of work permits.

The South African Home Affairs Ministry is yet to respond to calls by some local organizations on moves to deport those who failed to meet the December 31st application deadline for permits under a special Zimbabwean program.

The organizations are asking for a reprieve for those that failed to process their applications. About 208,000 permit holders are said to have met the deadline, leaving 38,000 out of the scheme. They are now facing deportation.

Ngqabutho Mabhena, chairman of the Zimbabwe Community in South Africa, told VOA there is need for South Africa to release its finial permit figures before taking action against those who did not extend their stay in the country.

“The analysis should speak to the 245,000 that applied in 2010, if they did not apply why they didn’t apply. There were issues during the process of application where some people said their details were not in the system; how many were those people, were they finally able to apply or not,” said Mabhena.

He added that there are others who registered proof of application in 2010, but were barred from renewing their permits during the two-month process, an issue yet to be addressed by authorities.

Speaking to journalists on the deadline of the application process, South African Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said of those that did not apply for permits, some may have left the country, while others may have regularized their stay in South Africa through other means, and others simply failed to apply.

Gigaba said those who failed to regularize their stay face deportation.

From projections given by the ministry about 38,000 people may have failed to submit their applications to extend their stay in the country with 245,000 expected apply for the permits.

All permits granted in 2010 expired midnight December 31st, and only those who managed to submit their application with the proper documentation will be granted the extended 3-year permit to remain in South African under the Zimbabwean Special Permit program until 2017.