Zimbabweans living and working in South Africa have been urged to regularise their Dispensation for Zimbabwe Project Permits (DZP) before month-end by accessing the new Zimbabwe Special Permits as agreed between the Home Affairs Ministries of the two countries.
In a recent statement issued on the South African Home Affairs Ministry website, Minister Malusi Gigaba said all DZP permits would expire on December 31, 2014, regardless of the time issued and the expiry date on them.
The statement said most of the DZP permits were issued in 2010 and applications for the new permits had to be submitted by end of December, failure of which applicants would only be able to submit their papers by April 30, 2015.
Gigaba advised Zimbabweans travelling home for the festive season to shorten their holiday to enable them to file their applications before December 31.
He said the other option available for Zimbabweans travelling home for the festive season was to file applications through the Visa Facilitation Services Global Outsourcing Company of South Africa.
“All the necessary paper work for the application of the special permits has to be done in South Africa so as to avoid the inconvenience of being denied entry back into the country,” said Gigaba.
The Minister said 64 percent of the 245,000 applications had so far been received and the adjudication process was complete for just 20 percent, giving an approximate number of processed applications at 31,360.
He said applicants must start making inquiries on their applications as some were ready for collection from Visa Facilitation Service Global Centres.
Gigaba said those who had electronically submitted their applications would be able to travel to Zimbabwe without any challenges.
“During the festive season, Zimbabweans qualifying for this process will be able to travel home and return to South Africa without any challenges. Their applications will be available to us electronically thus enabling us to verify whether they would’ve been captured properly,” Gigaba said.
Zimbabwe’s Home Affairs Minister Cde Kembo Mohadi said he had agreed with his South African counterpart for the processing of 245,000 permits.
He, however, expressed ignorance on the new deadline for the application of the new permits.
“We’ve adequately concluded the modalities of both the expiry dates and the deadline for the regularisation of permits. I’ve to contact my counterpart to get an update on the latest situation regarding the December 31 deadline,” said Cde Mohadi.
The new special permits to be acquired by every Zimbabwean living in South Africa expire in 2017, after which they would be renewed again in accordance with the laws that would have been passed by the South African government.
However, regardless of these challenges, the number of Zimbabweans trooping for the holidays has started swelling at the borders and reports say immigration officers at the border are clearing an average of 20,000 people a day in arrivals.