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SA still to make a decision on 250k Zimbabweans on expired special permits

Ambassador David Hamadziripi

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Zim Envoy Sweats Over Ramaphosa Suit

Harare’s top diplomat in Pretoria, David Hamadziripi, said this week a court case filed by Zimbabwean migrants against President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration over special work permit renewals has complicated an already tense situation.

Hamadziripi, who spoke as anxieties over the renewals deepened, said there had been diplomatic manoeuvres to end the uncertainties, and a decision would be announced by the South African government.

The special permits were last renewed in 2017, and are due to expire at the end of this year.

In drama-filled recent weeks, South African nationals demonstrated against the extension of the special permits, while Zimbabwean migrants on the special permits took Pretoria to court, pressing the government to declare them permanent residents.

About 250 000 Zimbabwean nationals on the special permits face an uncertain future.

But frustrations have increased because the South African government is yet to indicate whether it would renew the permits or not, Hamadziripi told the Zimbabwe Independent.

“In this case, the current permits expire at the end of next month,” Hamadziripi said. “The process has always been that the South African cabinet decides whether to renew or not. The last time they were renewed was in 2017. Their term is five years. They are due to expire in 2021. The point is that it is a decision that is actually taken by the South African cabinet.

“What has infuriated some South Africans is that we have some permit holders who have now gone to the courts asking them to direct the South African government to grant them permanent residency.

“Some of these people have been holding them (special permits) for a period long enough for them to qualify for permanent residency. But because they have these special permits, they don’t qualify and cannot be granted permanent residency.”

–ZimInd

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