Zimbabweans urged not to panic over changing SA permit laws

via Zimbabweans urged not to panic over changing SA permit laws | SW Radio Africa by Alex Bell on Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Zimbabweans in South Africa are being urged not to ‘panic’ over changes to work permit laws set to come into force later this year, with a leading refugee rights group saying it will engage the authorities on the way forward.

Concern has been high among many Zim nationals across the border, after South Africa’s Cabinet resolved that work permits granted under the Special Dispensation period will expire this November. Part of that resolution is a requirement that new permits can be applied for, but only back in Zimbabwe.

The Special Dispensation period was introduced in 2010 to give those Zimbabweans working illegally in South Arica at the time a chance to regularise their stay. An estimated two million Zimbabweans are thought to have fled the political crisis back home for the relative security of South Africa, choosing to live illegally across the border.

Under the dispensation period, over 250,000 Zim nationals were granted four year work and study permits. The authorities also suspended the mass deportations of Zim nationals, that they had been undertaking until the dispensation was announced.

The deportations of illegal Zimbabweans have since resumed, and the news of the authorities toughening up its permit laws has sparked real fears of a return to the chaos experienced before. One SW Radio Africa listener said by email that “it is not a good idea” to leave South Africa without a guarantee of being allowed back. He added: “You don’t even know whether you’re gonna get it (permits) or not or when. What about our jobs, accommodation, installments, credits or (do) you have to resign?”

Diana Zimbudzana from the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum told SW Radio Africa last week that the resolution will see Zim nationals choosing to work illegally in South Africa once again. She explained that permit holders will not risk returning to Zimbabwe with no guarantee of receiving the documentation that will allow them re-entry to South Africa.

“The resolution is a sad development because it forces people back into a situation that the permits lifted them out of, and that was being illegal. Zimbabweans went out of their way to get these permits, but they won’t forfeit their lives in South Africa if there are no guarantees they will get the permits again,” Zimbudzana said.

These fears have also intensified after Zimbabwe’s Home Affairs Minister said that South Africa’s permit plans had not been communicated to them. Minister Kembo Mohadi was quoted as saying that the ZANU PF government was not in a position to offer any permits for Zimbabweans based in South Africa.

“The government only issues permits for foreigners who want to work here in Zimbabwe, not the other way round. As far as I am concerned permits for Zimbabweans who want to work in South Africa are done in that country not in Zimbabwe,” he said.

But Braam Hanekom, the Director of the refugee rights group PASSOP, said Zimbabweans must stay positive.

“We are going to engage the government and find out the details and about the logistics and see if there is any possible way for people affected by the resolution to avoid returning to Zimbabwe,” Hanekom told SW Radio Africa.

He said that logistically and financially, forcing people to leave the country just to return at a later stage “is chaotic”. But he insisted it was not all bad news.

“We need to acknowledge that the government has given positive indications that Zimbabweans will be given another chance to get permits. When the Department of the Home Affairs proceeded with the dispensation project, they made it clear that it was a four year permit and made no undertaking that it would be renewable,” Hanekom explained.

He added: “So it’s good news that it looks like the government will allow Zimbabweans another chance to stay in South Africa.”

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47 comments on “Zimbabweans urged not to panic over changing SA permit laws
  1. tatenda says:

    Zimbos guys we must go back home and fix our coutry we are giving soth africa a big load look there economy is going down

    • The Truth. says:

      Go ahead and fix the Republic of Gukurahundi Zimbabwe yourself. You are probably a gukurahundi who has been voting gukurahundis back into power since 1980.

      Some of us have never been members of the gukurahundi party and will never be.

      You vote on tribal lines and expect us to help you out of the mess you have created, NEVER.

      I and all the members of my family will have nothing to do with the Zimbabwe Gukurahundi Republic until you clean the tribal mess you created.

      We are now Mzansi through and through; but will will take our chances in Mthwakazi once things come right!!

      • ephraim says:

        thats true my brother we are now in mzanzi lets focus like that he must go alone and fix his mistake keep it up

    • tee says:

      The economy has grown cause of working together, the downward spiral is only a result of bad governance on the economy front. the whole issue sucks, people cant just drop what they are doing and go to zim for permits , sorry visas, what a joke!!!!!!surely the mistry should invest resources into improving services.

  2. Wilbert Mukori says:

    It is all very well for Braam Hanekom to tell Zimbabweans not to panic but even he must see that the situation is not looking good.

    The South Africa economy is not doing well and the ruling ANC party has failed to take millions of South Africans out of poverty and despair. And stories of rampant corruption with the ruling party itself only make the bad situation even worse. Failed African governments are notorious for looking for scapegoats; look what Mugabe and Zanu PF have been doing to whites.

    Zimbabweans have already been suffering unofficial abuse from the public this is bound to get a lot worse when all the official institutions are hunting them too. What exactly will PASSOP do then?

    Mugabe would not have rigged the elections if only Tsvangirai and MDC had implemented the GPA agreed democratic reforms. We, the electorate, were fast asleep and failed to stop Tsvangirai wasting time globetrotting and chasing women of ill repute ignoring the task on hand. Now the nation has paying a heavy price for its folly of having trusted a blundering incompetent like Tsvangirai to deliver free and fair elections!

    • nesbert majoni says:

      If you feel Tsvangirayi is not good enough you can join a party of your choice. Its not about Tsvangirayi but its for all if us. Tsvangirayi tried his best to implement those reforms but ZANU pf refused. Even if Tsvangirayi had boycotted the elections ZANU PF were going to go ahead with the elections and declare themselves winners.

    • gorongoza says:

      You assume Tsvangirai and the MDC were in govt alone and could implement whatever they wanted, and at will? Read again about the GNU.

    • Proudly South African says:

      Zimbos with special permits were given because there was a political crisis in Zimbabwe. There is no more political crises so the permits must be revoked and all Zimbos must go back home to fix the problems at home.
      Our economy is going down because it is being bled dry by the swindling Zimbos who are not paying tax and taking out R1.5 billion out of south Africa every year. We want this to stop.
      Those with fake I.D.’s are going to be arrested and swiftly deported when we convert to smart I.D. cards. The home affairs department has been cleaned with over 1250 employees fired and some still attending hearing for issuing fake I.D.’s
      in short, the honeymoon is over Zimbos and the time to go home is now.

      • Bodo Misi says:

        You seem to forget so quickly that so many South Africans were in exile a few years ago! If they had been treated like that what would have been you feeling. What goes around, Zimbos are learning all these lessons be wary you may be on the receiving end in a short while at the rate at which your own country is going down!

      • NBS says:

        Thanks for your neighbourliness! Hope we don’t treat you like that when the time comes.

  3. bafunda says:

    That should teach Zuma and his side kicks a lesson. He thought by endorsing the 31 July elections he will solved the Zimbabwe situation. Unfortunately, our problem is not just domestic. It is also international.

  4. John Thomas says:

    South Africa has no obligation to help Zimbabwe or Zimbabweans. We have messed up our own country through simple minded stupidity and the South Africans might legitimately consider that we will spread the disease to their country.

    Zimbabwe makes a ridiculously huge noise about sovereignty, how about the South African right to decide who can live in their country?

    Zimbabweans need to reap what they have sewn in full measure. This is the only way that they might one day correct their behaviour. Voting for ZANU would be a very good example of behaviour that needs correcting. Living in expectation of getting something for nothing would be another.

    • Proudly South African says:

      Well said my brother, we don’t owe anyone any explaination or clarity for clearing our country. There is no more political crises in Zim so those that got their permits for that reason must then go back home.

      • ephraim says:

        its fine as you wish we will go back but when you economy became hard like what is happening now rand is going down everyday like a zim dolla check your prices what goes around comes around be happy when thing are bad to someone but remember you will face the same problem one of the days

  5. maita says:

    So for how long are we going to live in this situation a situation full of anxiety when we are supposed to be guaranteed a good life in our own country? Imagine kugara wakaringe shure.

  6. WILLO says:

    vaporofita venhema muchanyarara.U tell ppl not to panic ndiwe ani iwe.Mapermit acho takamboapiwa kumba kwenyu here.Musangomira mira pahuku yemweni.Ndiwe wakambo engager SA gvt yacho pakutanga here?

    • Proudly South African says:

      Whatever you are saying take out Government out of it. We don’t need any engagement. We’ve given you ZImbos over 4 years to enjoy a good life at home but now you want more. That you are not going to get.

  7. Fatso says:

    The risk of going to Zim to apply for a permit equals the one of illegally staying and working here. We stayed here illegal since around 2005, we were only legalised in 2010. So its not new and that is why Hanekom tells us not to panic. It will be tough but we are not going anywhere, we simply brace up.

    That exercise is chaotic, S.A will simply waste their resources by trying to implement it. If they deport us still we will find a way to come back. We might not have strength, courage and knowledge of resuscitate the economy of Zim, but of staying and making it in S.A we have.

    Its important for them to understand us as individuals. We might not be good in forming teams that can cause change, due to other factors, but as individuals that should not be too much as long as bread and butter is brought to our tables.

  8. Mixed Race says:

    These Zimbabweans went to S Africa under claims that they were running away from political issues but they now want to stay for jobs at the expense of the local indigenous people? This is funny because they have no legal rights to claim for those jobs at the expense of the locals,therefore the S African government must just chase them with zero compensation and if they catch any company employing illegal people they should fine it heavily.This would eliminate abuses of our citizens in S Africa by unscrupulous companies and individuals.
    I have relatives who are under the same scheme, I have advised them to come back home before things worsen.S Africa does not need our corrupt citizens there because they have well trained people with direct exposure to world class qualified personnel.Do not be fooled by one or two Zimbos who claim they are employed in important jobs when they are just floor cleaners.
    These people are cowards who look for easy escape routes when things become bad at home and make useless noises from hiding places.I remember one misguided and semi-skilled guy in S Africa claiming that he left Zimb. not due to politics BUT lack of jobs otherwise he likes home politics heavily,so why does he not come back home and improve his dear country instead of improving a foreign country’s economy.This shows how stupid and naive we are because our personal interests are more important than the national interests.Looting and corruption are the results of personal interests.

  9. The Truth. says:

    Go ahead and fix the Republic of Gukurahundi Zimbabwe yourself. You are probably a gukurahundi who has been voting gukurahundis back into power since 1980.

    Some of us have never been members of the gukurahundi party and will never be.

    You vote on tribal lines and expect us to help you out of the mess you have created, NEVER.

    I and all the members of my family will have nothing to do with the Zimbabwe Gukurahundi Republic until you clean the tribal mess you created.

    We are now Mzansi through and through; but will will take our chances in Mthwakazi once things come right!!

  10. Proudly South African says:

    From December this year Mass deportation will be taking place. Jobs will be freed and South Africans will be free to choose without unnessesary competetion from Outside of the country.

  11. Proudly South African says:

    WHat I like is that SHONA speakers are far easier to identify and deport because you can’t claim to have been born in S.A. because that will be obvious due to your lack of understanding of local taals. Zimbos the time is up, you better prepare to go back home.

    • Bodo Misi says:

      It sounds to me you are not a South African actually. Your hate of Shona speakers sells you out! You will be deported as well…

      • The Truth. says:

        Bodo Misi

        There are valid reasons why some Shona people are hated. You obviously do not want to face this reality.

        Anyone can be a citizen of South Africa, either by birth, or decent. You dont always have to be born there to be a citizen.

        I am also a South African citizen now, but I was born in Rhodesia, Bulawayo. There are also many Shonas who are now citizens of South Africa.

      • Kaitlyn Mutede says:

        I like your analysis. I picked it up already that this proudly south African guy is a psychotic cookoo head is a kwere-kwere as well.

    • Mukorekore Chaiye says:

      If the worse comes to the worst, we will return where we came from. Yes the Zim situation might not be excellent,but we will survive.. We have been through worse than repatriation.

      But 1 thing South Africans should learn is that we are not contending for resources i.e employment included.. most of our brothers and sisters here find it easy to blame their government for everything. You even claim grants for teenage pregnancies and the list goes on. Why not face reality and be responsible for yourselves? Yes most employers here prefer to hire our services because we know how to stick it out.. and also the majority of zimbabweans are very literate. On the other hand most South Africans don’t like working nor studying! I’m not stereotyping, but I’m saying this from a personal experience. So the excuse that we r ‘stealing’ jobs is invalid!

      We are helping fundamentally in building SA’s economy and I’m not sure I should state how. . It’s pretty evident!

      In light of the permit renewal situation, I do not impose, but rather propose and implore with the local authorities to review and analyse the situation, before stipulating anything, a proper survey might be necessary.

    • shorayi says:

      i can speak zulu, tsonga, venda and i can understand sotho, xhosa but i am shona dear.

  12. Mixed Race says:

    That will be nice because all the thieves who escaped to S Africa can come and face the crimes they committed back home.One guy stole from me and he was spotted in Jhb with the assistance of these Malatshas.
    I would be happy if the S African government puts an end to these uncontrolled border crossings to stop these thugs from having safe havens in your land.

    • The Truth. says:

      Mixed Race
      Crossing over to South Africa is as old as the modern Southern African region itself. You are obviously young, if you dont know this. There is no one who can stop it.

      Infact in the olden days it used to be a two-way traffic situation. South Africans, black and white come to live, settle, work or go to school in Rhodesia and Rhodeians went to South Africa, to live, work and get an education in South Africa.

      This hysteria about this movement today is called by ignorance, black self-hatred and xenophobic attitudes.

      In Mthwakazi we grew up with many traditional songs that were about crossing Ingulukudela (Limpopo river) to South Africa, siyofuna imali.Many Rhodeisan school and Colleges had South African teachers and lecturers.

      The whole Southern Africa was affected by these movements, during the WENELA days. Fort Hare, was the African University for Southern Africa.

      The taunting of Mthwakazi people, particularly the Ndebele by the Shona people over e GOLI is just simply tribalism gone mad on their part.

      Shonas were also keen eGoli travellers in those years, as they still are even today. Maybe their gripe is due to the fact that the laguage they speak is too isolated from many South African languages; which makes them feel like fish out of water in South Africa, unlike the Ndebele. Some kind of jealousy, one might say – come to think of it.

      In Mbare, they have a place known as Joburg Lines, why, if eGoli was all a Ndebele thing?

  13. wa Zimbabwe says:

    Nonsense.I am a boarder jumper. I don’t need any permit.

  14. jiji says:

    Proudly South African, while you seem to make the whole issue a simple one, let me tell you.Its easy to identify Zimbos, starting with you.South Africans , being lazy to read newspapers will not take time to read a foreign aspect.So all on this forum are Zimbos, some who claim to be South Africans.Shame on you.
    Ever place offers opportunities.Even a desert offers oil.So by going home, people will engage in other beneficial economic activities.People must be positive.If they go, they must work hard, at least for themselves.If they remain, they will work odd hours but for someone else/
    Be positive , home is good .You have seen a lot here, businesswise.So lets go home and implement the small we can.
    Zimbabweans also must not cry too much.In 2013 November.A Cape town based Zim guy called for a meeting to discuss the issues of Zimbos killed in locations, drinking habits, surviving like vagabonds.Some dismissed him saying he wanted people’s money.Such things of permits could be talked about and then approach the gvt in a united front.Zimbos are not united like Western country guys.
    If people are granted more years its good.But let the people be prepared mentally for anything

  15. Mixed Race says:

    @jiji-typical ZIMBO who thinks low of other Africans.Stop the nonsense and come back to real poverty you unskilled Malatsha.
    What makes you sure that they will do better than us who are here already?Are they in a position to alter our funny economic policies to encourage foreign investment?We do not like these day dreamers.

  16. Resensky says:

    I follow with a sad heart the amount of hatred and unconstructive exchange of debate this issue has raised. Surely, it is a complicated situation for most Zimbabweans who were gainfully employed here in South Africa and were not looking forward to going back anytime soon. I think we Zimbabweans before we hurl lots of insults to the local people, we must appreciate the fact that the South African government has been sympathetic to our needs at a difficult time and have offered us refuge for a long time. We must be grateful to the refuge and hospitality that has been extended to us. This negativity is not good.I would like to thank the South African government for all the hospitality they have extended to us. I apologise for all the insults and negative comments coming from my dear brothers- I suppose it is due to the shock at the news of going back home very little of us are prepared to do. My heart though bleeds to those who had brought their families and have children enrolled in school. How does a pupil doing grade 10 this year in South Africa now, is going to fit into the education system in Zim given the differences in curriculum and everything ? My heart is heavy with despair as I am in that scenario. Nonetheless, we hope PASSOP and the civic organisations will engage with the authorities and come up with a solution. Zimbabweans, abstain from negative comments. We must be grateful.

  17. Che'guevara says:

    I would like to complement Fatso for being real. Borders are always crossed legally or illegally for many reasons and its very easy to stay in an country illegally whether they have smart cards, biometric cards etc. Whatever is man made has loopholes. Stay put and feed your families. My advice to coloured and south african is zimbos are well educated they need them. Secondly SA has an obligation on zim they messed up handling GNU talks. Remember how mbeki arm twisted zim oppsition in 2009. They endorsed disputed election 2013. You think Khama is a fool?

  18. The Truth. says:

    What simply can not escape my mind or memory is the arrogance of the Shona supporters of gukurahundi ZANU PF in the 1980s, when they got drunk with tribal excitement over their then beloved gukurahundi Mugabe and their gukurahundi ZANU PF party winning the 1980s elections. Guys, the anti-ndebele tribalism was overwhelming.

    Now to reconcile this desperation of leaving their sinking ship that is Gukurahundi Zimbabwe and following us to South Africa – its really very, very difficult for me.

    I can understand why those born in the 1990 are not affetec by this.

    But as for me – the 1980s are so indelibly etched in my mind and experiences I will never forget. Shona people can really be very, very, very, very tribalistic. They really can be devils if they choose to be – excuse the language!!

  19. It is amazing how an article like this can get people behaving this way to each other. I would tend to agree that Proudly South African is not really south African. Most probably one of the CIO cadres sowing confusion and getting people to start insulting each other. Whilst a few South Africans of Zimbabwean decent might look into this forum occasionally Proudly South African IS JUST TOO REGULAR TO BE GENUINE. He can answer me anyway he wants to me he is just a big fake.

  20. Che'guevara says:

    It appears The Truth is not objective in his/her prognosis of any discussion. He/she is just here to showcase his/her hatred of every shona speaking person.

  21. Fatso says:

    I dont see any reason for insulting each other on tribal lines, whatsoever. Its also wrong to accuse zimbos for failing to ensure change in Zim, as if it was a simple exercise of ballot. We are not kids anymore. Why cant we just discuss the matter at hand. Of course changing the gvt decisions on this case, will never depend on what we say here.

  22. Small axe says:

    FATSO that is a very relevant point you make.

  23. Mixed Race says:

    @The Truth-I am as old as you are or older than you with your half truth about what you have said.Under what circumstance these people crossed the borders at that time and what numbers we are talking about as compared to the current unsustainable numbers run in millions.Do not try to lecture somebody on an issue you have limited knowledge about it because you make yourself look intellectually low..You talk about Wenela without mentioning its serious health problems and lack of compensation by the relevant mine authorities in S Africa.
    Any reasonable government should put in place effective border controls to protect its territory from unwanted immigrants.

    • All Eyes On Me says:

      Mixed Race
      I think you didnt understand The Truth. He never said the influx into SA is right. He is just explaining that its not a new thing; the only difference are the huge numbers. And despite the fact that the Shonas have always wanted to tribalise the issue; they have also been border jumping to SA throughout history.

      • chirasha says:

        is it the Shona people only who are border jumpers i am not tribalistic but are you aware that most of the ndebeles are the most people who commit crimes in Sa and Botswana not that the shonas are not involved the former are hard working people

  24. chongwe says:

    Mixed race you seem to think upside down.Jiji mentioned that staying has benefits as well as going.He says if people go, they can do something after seeing a lot here in SA, never did he say the people are better or will turn around the economy.I used to read your comments but today you proved to be an emotional fool

  25. Mixed Race says:

    @Chongwe-The fact that you use the word fool yourself it means you have joined me .thanks for that.Thus what I expected from you border jumpers who cause problems from both sides of the borders.

  26. Mwana wevhu says:

    This country is also going down the drain . I wonder if s africans will be able to take the blows we took across Limpopo in 2007-8 Good for u to say the honeymoon is over for us coz we all know how corrupt ur officials are the honeymoon is still on Dude! I am not going anywhere soon never! U can rant all u want lazy bones.

  27. chrispen says:

    I dont see why people are worried about all this acts . Arent you aware is the end of the world we have no city with continuity here. Dont expect a change from these corrupt leaders’ its now a servival of the fittest look away to Jesus and receive joy in trouble. I gaurantee you its going to be worse mark my words its fulfilment the scripture

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