SA ex­tends study per­mits for for­eign stu­dents

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Mashudu Net­sianda Se­nior Re­porter

SOUTH Africa has ex­tended by three months study per­mits for in­ter­na­tional stu­dents, among them Zim­bab­weans, whose visas were set to ex­pire in De­cem­ber.

In a state­ment, South African Home Af­fairs Min­is­ter Malusi Gi­gaba said the ex­ten­sion was ne­ces­si­tated by re­cent stu­dent protests that rocked sev­eral top uni­ver­si­ties in the neigh­bour­ing coun­try, lead­ing to their clo­sure.

The Min­is­ter said the ex­ten­sion ends on March 31 next year.

“The De­part­ment of Home Af­fairs has granted a blan­ket ex­ten­sion un­til March 31, 2017, of all study visas is­sued for the pur­pose of stud­ies at ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions in South Africa. The ex­ten­sion ap­plies to all study visas with an ex­piry date of, or prior to, 31 De­cem­ber 2016, and it is on con­di­tion that the date of de­par­ture from South Africa is not later than March 31, 2017,” he said.

Protests at South African uni­ver­si­ties erupted last month af­ter a Govern­ment pro­posal to raise tu­ition fees by up to eight per­cent in 2017.

“We had to in­ter­vene in the in­ter­est of stu­dents mind­ful of the sit­u­a­tion in ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions and the im­per­a­tive for all stu­dents to com­plete their aca­demic year. Act­ing oth­er­wise would be in­sen­si­tive to the plight of stu­dents, their par­ents, sponsors and broader so­ci­ety. This is key to their fu­ture and that of their coun­tries and ours given the po­ten­tial on their part to con­trib­ute mean­ing­fully to our eco­nomic growth and pros­per­ity,” said Mr Gi­gaba.

He said re­quire­ments pre­scribed in the South African im­mi­gra­tion reg­u­la­tions have also been waived so that the af­fected stu­dents are not de­clared un­de­sir­able persons when de­part­ing from South Africa af­ter the ex­piry of their tem­po­rary res­i­dence visas.

Mr Gi­gaba said the de­ci­sion to ex­tend the stu­dents’ stay in South Africa was reached af­ter his de­part­ment re­ceived rep­re­sen­ta­tions from ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions and other stake­hold­ers on the predica­ment that for­eign stu­dents found them­selves in fol­low­ing the protests. — @ mash­nets

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