via Bulawayo24 NEWS | SA, Zim ministers fail to meet over permits 01 July 2014 by Staff reporter
THE scheduled meeting on new stringent immigration laws involving a newly-formed Zimbabwe community in South Africa, Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi and his South African counterpart, Malusi Gigaba, failed to materialise last Friday and will now be held this week.
Most Zimbabweans in the neighbouring country are in panic mode after the introduction of immigration regulations that would see them and other foreign nationals who overstay being banned from entering South Africa. Ngqabutho Mabhena, chairperson of the Zimbabwe community in South Africa, yesterday said they were hopeful that the two ministers would meet this week.
“The meeting of the ministers on Friday did not take place because Gigaba was not available, so Mohadi did not make the trip to South Africa. We expect that meeting to take place this week,” Mabhena said.
Last week, the Zimbabwe community in South Africa hinted that the special permits issued four years ago were not bound by the new immigration laws that were announced by the South African government.
“It has been clarified to us that the special permits issued four years ago are not under the new immigration laws that were announced by the South African government,” Mabhena said.
“Zimbabweans who are holders of special permits should not panic over the new immigration laws. The issue of the special dispensation announced four years ago will be announced by the minister of Home Affairs in consultation with Cabinet whether the special dispensation for Zimbabweans should be cancelled or extended. From this high level meeting that we have just had, we are more convinced that these permits will be renewed, but we shall continue engaging the government and our partners.
“Those whose permits have already expired should hold on and allow these engagements with the government to be concluded.”
The South African government has released a list of critical skills that country needs wherein foreigners are encouraged to apply for work visas, but the challenge would be that most Zimbabweans living in that country have no special skills. This means that they would be left at the mercy of immigration authorities and could face deportation.
Of the Zimbabweans living in South Africa, 250 000 who benefited under the special dispensation for Zimbabweans programme are not necessarily in possession of any critical skills and they could be left out in the 35 000 critical job list released by the neighbouring country’s government.