South African Government says it was compelled to grant a six-month extension for special permits allowing Zimbabwean nationals to live and work in the country, this is because of the few applications received so far from people to regularize their stay in the country.
Video: Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi explains further
In the media statement, Home Affairs stated that the ZEP had been extended from December 31, 2022, to June 30, 2023.
A spokesperson for Home Affairs Siya Qoza said the Departmental Advisory Committee under the direction of Dr. Cassius Lubisi to evaluate the visa applications submitted by the impacted Zimbabweans.
Additionally, it sought legal counsel to help it deal with court challenges stemming from the decision to not prolong the exemptions given to Zimbabwean nationals.
“Dr. Lubisi gave the Minister of Home Affairs a progress report. According to the report, the DAC convened its most recent full-day meeting on September 1, 2022, after holding multiple meetings to carry out its mandate”.
South Africa plans to end most special permits for foreign nationals as it revamps its immigration policies to manage an influx of economic migrants.
At least 178 000 Zimbabwean nationals faced deportations from the country after the expiry of their special permits due on December 31st.
Africa’s most industrialized nation has been a magnet for people seeking better economic opportunities from across the continent, particularly from the Southern African Development Community countries.
According to Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, arrivals ballooned in 2008 as the global financial crisis combined with an economic collapse in Zimbabwe triggered mass migration.
The presence of foreigners in South Africa has sparked resentment among some locals, who see them as competitors for scarce jobs, health care, and housing, and the country has been wracked by intermittent xenophobic violence.