The South African government yesterday said it will complete the processing and issuing of work and study permits for 200,000 Zimbabweans who applied to regularise their stay in that country by end of next month under the Zimbabwe Special permit (ZSP) programme.
Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba yesterday said his ministry had adjudicated 99.7 percent (197,303) of the nearly 200,000 Zimbabwe Special permit applications within the first six months of the project — January to July.
“Collection of Zimbabwe Special permit s will close on September 30, 2015. In this regard a Public Notice was placed in the media, on August 12-15, 2015, by VFS Global.
“The cut-off date for receiving Zimbabwe Special permit applications was December 2014. Applications were received by VFS Global, and adjudicated by the Department, with July 31, 2015 as our deadline for Departmental adjudication and processing of applications” he said.
“The ZSPs are valid until December 31, 2017. From January 1, 2018, Zimbabweans will apply for a normal visa which is applicable in the law”.
Gigaba said 729 applications were still under adjudication while 185,075 of the submitted applications had since been approved.
He added that the department of Home Affairs has since dispatched 161,677 permits to the Visa Facilitations Service where 128,317 had since been collected.
Gigaba said a further 26,986 were yet to be collected.
The minister said 12,228 applications had been rejected for various reasons adding that these formed 6.2 percent of total applications.
“The bulk of the remaining work is administrative, involving printing and dispatch of outstanding Zimbabwe Special permit certificates to VFS, followed by clients’ collection of decision.
“The 30th of September 2015 is the target date for completion of outstanding tasks, including collections.
“The marginal 0.3 percent remaining on our adjudication target arises as a consequence of files that don’t have supporting documents or electronic attachments that can’t be opened or retrieved. These cases are being addressed individually, and efforts to contact the affected applicants are underway.
“The rejected cases (12,228) are being reviewed, this month, to ensure integrity of the final decision on the rejection, and to prevent unwarranted appeal applications” said Gigaba.
He also commended Zimbabweans for responding positively to the regularisation process.
He added that the Zimbabwe Special permit process had since its inception in 2009 managed to reduce some pressure on the asylum system with Zimbabweans stay in that country regulated by way of these special permits.
Zimbabwe’s Consul General to South Africa Batiraishe Mukonoweshuro said they were yet to get official communication from their hosts on the Zimbabwe Special permit process.
He, however, called on Zimbabweans who failed to get the permits to regularise their stay in that country through the normal channels.
“You will note that once the process is complete those with rejected permits become illegal immigrants. It’s important for them to legalise their stay and avoid unnecessary situations.
“Most of those who failed to get the permits are already aware while others are still being informed and we believe that by the end of September they will have complied with the laws of this country” he said.
Mukonoweshuro said Zimbabweans visiting that country should always be documented and make sure that they applied for the right permits before travelling.
He said the fact that 12,228 applications were rejected did not mean that South Africa will hunt down the applicants adding that these should make sure that their stay is regularised through alternative facilities.