Cape Town - Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) holders have about six months before their documentation to live and work in South Africa expires, and about 180 000 Zimbabwean nationals living in South Africa will be affected.
This follows after the South African government had announced the decision earlier this year and initially aimed to terminate permits on December 31, 2022, but instead granted an extension up to June 30, 2023.
Speaking to Newzroom Afrika, African Diaspora Global Network president Vusi Sibanda said that when it comes to application of relevant visas, Zimbabweans are sitting in the dark because they were asked to start applying at the end of 2021 and those who applied have not received any response.
“People who have applied for waivers before have not received any outcomes or responses from the government and even those that have applied for mainstream visas their application status still shows that they have applied in March until now and there have been not any changes.’’
Sibanda said that as the festive season nears the end, they fear that even those who have temporary visas might experience challenges when they have to return to their workplaces.
“We are currently dealing with the situation where we have been receiving calls where ZEP holders whose permits expired have been stopped and arrested in the borders heading back in South Africa.
“This also includes truck drivers that are legally employed and they are arrested and informed that their visas have been expired, and yet they are on the extension which is supposed to be up until June 2023,” Sibanda said.
Sibanda claimed that the Zimbabwean government is not doing anything to assist in this situation as they believe that they require assistance from both countries in order avoid inconvenience with permits application.
“I don’t think the Zimbabwean government will be able to do anything, because they are even failing to provide service for Zimbabwean citizens. People in Zimbabwe are currently experiencing poverty as a result of the same government,” he said.
Sibanda said as Diaspora they think the South African government needs to engage honestly with the Zimbabwean government on its failures in order to ensure that can be able to sustain its citizens as immigration is becoming an issue around the world.