BY SILAS NKALA
SOUTH Africa has not said a word regarding the status of Zimbabweans staying in that country under the Zimbabwean Special Dispensation Permits (ZSDP) which are set to expire in December.
Zimbabwe’s Consul-General to Johannesburg Melody Chaurura has, however, urged the restless Zimbabweans to be patient, claiming engagements with the neighbouring country were underway.
Chaurura made the remarks on Thursday while representing the Zimbabwean ambassador to South Africa David Hamadziripi during the Southern African Liaison Office (Salo) virtual discussion on the ZSDP, which expires on December 31.
The meeting also deliberated on diaspora vote in the 2023 general election as well as vaccines for Zimbabwean migrants in South Africa. An estimated three million Zimbabweans are believed to be resident in South Africa.
In 2010, about 295 000 Zimbabweans applied for the permits and 245 000 successfully got the documents.
“As you might be aware, the government of South Africa granted the Zimbabwean special permits in 2010,” Chaurura said.
“These special permits have been renewed since then. We are fully aware that there is anxiety among permit holders as the special dispensation permits are due to expire at the end of December. Regrettably, we are not in a position at this point to state or predict the direction that will be taken by the South African government on this matter.”
She added: “We can, however, confirm that consultations on the issue have been underway among the relevant stakeholders in SA and the issue has since been submitted to Cabinet for decision.
“In this regard, we continue to wait for pronouncements by the government’s competent authorities on the future of these permits. In the meantime, we encourage the permit holders of these permits to exercise patience and to be watchful for scams.”
Chaurura said the Zimbabwean embassy would continue to work towards the documentation of citizens in South Africa though they were stifled by the COVID-19 outbreak.
On the vaccination of Zimbabweans, Chaurura said the government of South Africa to inoculate foreigners.
Chair of the Zimbabwe Community in South Africa Ngqabutho Mabhena said Zimbabweans in South Africa and the African Diaspora Forum were working together with the Zimbabwean embassy in the neighbouring country and trust the ambassador had submitted their concerns to the government over the issue of permits.