Zim work­ers con­tinue to ap­ply for 2017 ex­ten­sion

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS -

CAPE TOWN: About 64 per­cent of Zim­bab­weans work­ing in the coun­try on a dis­pen­sa­tion per­mit have ap­plied for an ex­ten­sion un­til 2017, Home Af­fairs Min­is­ter Malusi Gi­gaba said in Cape Town yes­ter­day.

He was con­fi­dent that the 249 000 peo­ple in the coun­try on a Dis­pen­sa­tion for Zim­babwe Project per­mit would ap­ply for the new Spe­cial Dis­pen­sa­tion Per­mit (SDP). The dead­line is De­cem­ber 31.

Only those with the ini­tial per­mit would be al­lowed to ap­ply. Those with­out a per­mit would have to go through the nor­mal routes to ob­tain a work, travel, or study visa.

Zim­bab­weans in the coun­try il­le­gally were granted an op­por­tu­nity from 2009 to le­galise their stay via the per­mit, as a re­sult of the po­lit­i­cal and so­cio-eco­nomic con­di­tions in their coun­try.

Gi­gaba said those with the old per­mit could ap­ply via a web­site for the SDP. They would be is­sued a bar­code, a track and trace num­ber, and a date for a face-to-face in­ter­view.

Gi­gaba vis­ited the Cape Town branch of VFS Global – the company deal­ing with the ap­pli­ca­tions – yes­ter­day morn­ing to as­sess the process.

Peo­ple pa­tiently queued for their in­ter­view while hold­ing onto their pass­ports and proof of em­ploy­ment, business, or study.

Bio­met­ric photographs and fin­ger­prints were taken. Fin­ger­prints were sub­mit­ted to the po­lice’s au­to­matic finger­print iden­ti­fi­ca­tion sys­tem to check for crim­i­nal records and re­sults were re­turned within two days. Gi­gaba said com­pleted ap­pli­ca­tions were sub­mit­ted elec­tron­i­cally to home af­fairs for ad­ju­di­ca­tion and con­cluded within a month to two months.

Just over 20 per­cent of ap­pli­ca­tions had been ad­ju­di­cated so far.

He an­tic­i­pated that all per­mits should be is­sued by the end of April.

Gi­gaba said they would soon be­gin a sim­i­lar process for the Ba­sotho, Mozam­bi­cans, and other South­ern African De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity na­tion­als.

“The pro­cesses are not go­ing to be open-ended. We are go­ing to be strict about it,” he said.

There are 11 visa fa­cil­i­ta­tion cen­tres in the coun­try and four new cen­tres for Gaut­eng, Western Cape, Lim­popo and Mpumalanga, where there had been a high num­ber of ap­pli­ca­tions. – Sapa


OP­POR­TU­NITY: Women car­ry­ing bags walk through the bor­der post from South Africa to Zim­babwe.

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