SA admits quandary over 250,000 Zimbos

SA admits quandary over 250,000 Zimbos

via SA admits quandary over 250,000 Zimbos 06 July 2014

ZIMBABWEANS living in South Africa must wait a little longer to know their fate as the neighbouring country agonises on how to assist them while avoiding a “shock to the system” and adverse impact on social and other services.

About 250,000 Zimbabweans were issued with the documents four years ago and are now anguished by the continued uncertainty over their stay in South Africa. Under South African laws, one qualifies for a permanent resident permit which comes with benefits after staying for 5 years in Africa’s land of “milk and honey”.

This means Zimbabweans who accepted South Africa’s concessions to allow all foreign immigrants – illegal and otherwise – to regularise their stay in that country, would require another year of legitimate stay to become South African citizens.

But, aware of the boomerang effect this entails for South Africa, the Jacob Zuma government has gone back to its statutes to explore how it could remedy the impending dilemma.

Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba admitted last Friday that his government was in a quandary on how to reciprocate the gesture that was shown by the few Zimbabweans who heeded its call to regularise their stay in that country by renewing their permits, at the same avoiding the crisis.

Gigaba said an additional 250,000 new South Africans and their offspring would be disaster for South African systems.

“l want to be blunt, 250,000 Zimbabweans are holders of these permits. Once you extend with one year, 250,000 Zimbabweans will apply for permanent resident citizenship and that will be a shock to the system and government,” he said.

The Home Affairs director, Apleni Mkuseli also told Zimbabweans to remain calm while his government deliberated over the status of their new permits.

Gigaba also said they were now open to engagement over the newly promulgated immigration rules. This comes after the new rules have raised an uproar which has spilled into that country’s courts.

A Western Cape High Court last week ruled in favour of a South Africa woman, Cherene Delorie who had sought its intervention after her Zimbabwean husband was thrown out of South Africa after being declared an undesirable resident.

The courts ordered the Home Affairs Ministry to allow the husband back into South Africa.

Gigaba said: “Our doors are not closed. We are open to further engagement on the consequences. You can never introduce new regulations that are perfect and will work. We are open for discussion and ready to address concerns that people might have or raise.”

The Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA), Southern Africa Tourism Services Associations (SATSA), World Travel Agents Associations Alliance (WTAAA), European Travel Agents, Tour Operators’ Associations (ECIAA) and the Board of Airline Representatives of Southern Africa (BARSA) have all complained about the new laws.

The new Act, which came into effect on May 26, 2014, also threatens to affect the South African Tourism sector, so they say. Despite confirmation to that effect, Gigaba is yet to meet officially with Zimbabwe’s Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi over the status of Zimbabwean nationals living in the country’s rich southern neighbour.


  • comment-avatar

    It’s just unfortunate that Zimbabwe has greed people who are so useless to destroy their own economy. These Zimbabweans are just victims of the system since SA did had helped his neighbor destroy the economy by supporting Mugabe left and right in his evil acts. God should intervene because otherwise unwise decisions on those permits is a recipe for disaster to both nations. People can do anything if stranded so I am afraid of improper decisions I hope they are clever enough to weigh the consequences of such actions.

  • comment-avatar
    Straight Shooter 4 years

    250 000 permananent residents will not shock the system Malusi. These are people who are already in the system anyway. This problem of illegal immigration in this region is very simple to solve. Just stop supporting undemocratic leaders and their elections. Everything will simply fall into place!

  • comment-avatar
    JOHNSON 4 years

    I recommend a research and a phased return of permit holders. It would be better to extend their permits by 3 years pending their return to prepare them to go back home. By then things may be OK in Zim God willing. Who knows….SA has to be realistic. Its a tough situation but balance must be struck before making regrettable decisions. Engage social researchers and find more option! SA’s concerns are legitimate….so are the migrants’ worries

  • comment-avatar
    Mswati Ndapfunya 4 years

    Nothing short of a change of thinking in the Zimbabwean government can turn around the economy. We have leaders bent on amassing wealth at everyone elses expense as if they are on a plundering deadline, who knows maybe they are. As long there are more companies shutting down than those setting up i dont think any amount of force or otherwise will convince Zimbos in other countries to return. Now expecting a change in the current crop of leaders is impossible therefore nothing short of a total change of government in Zimbabwe will convince people to return.