News / Africa

S. Africa Unveils Amnesty Extension Plan for Zimbabweans

FILE - Zimbabweans fill out application forms outside Immigration offices in Johannesburg.
FILE - Zimbabweans fill out application forms outside Immigration offices in Johannesburg.

In 2010, South Africa granted four-year residence permits to nearly a quarter-million Zimbabweans who had entered the country illegally.

Many had fled political and economic turmoil in their homeland, but lived abroad in fear of the day their permits would expire, forcing them to return.

But a recent announcement by the South African government on Tuesday has brought some relief.

Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has unveiled a new three-year Zimbabwean Special Dispensation Permit (ZSP), which will grants applicants a three-year amnesty extension beginning January 1, 2015.

“Permit holders who wish to remain in South Africa after the expiry of their permits can re-apply," he said. "The ZSP will allow permit-holders to live, work, conduct business and study in South Africa until 31 December 2017.”

But the offer comes with a condition. Only holders of the Dispensation of Zimbabweans Project (DZP) permits, which were issued in 2010, may apply for the new ZSP extension. Also, applicants will be required to provide a valid passport, proof of employment, study or business ownership, and have a clean criminal record.

According to Home Affairs officials, applicants will been given three-month window to submit their applications, beginning on October 1, via newly opened visa centers throughout the country.

Gigaba added that the ZSP will be the last special permits given to the Zimbabweans.

"ZSP permit-holders who wish to stay in South Africa after the expiry of their ZSP must return to Zimbabwe to apply for mainstream visas and permits under the Immigration Act," he said. "This means we will not be announcing in 2017 any new special permit."

The news of the new special permits has brought joy to the entire Zimbabwean community in South Africa.

Solomon Chikowero, chairman of a Zimbabwean diaspora group, says Zimbabweans could not have gotten a better deal than this one.

"At least they have a breathing space for the next three years to put their papers in place," he said. "There is also a leeway to move [away] from the ZSP — because it’s a special permit — to a proper permit, which can allow you to apply either for certification or permanent residency thereafter."

An estimated 1.5 million Zimbabweans are believed to be living in South Africa as a result of economic and political turmoil in their homeland in the past two decades.

You May Like

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to enhancement or regression of democracy for Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Flexx from: Western cape
August 16, 2014 3:50 AM
Thank you south africa for helping zimbabweans in a time of need,but the question remains that these permits are specifically for 250 000 zimbabweans who had previous permits due to expire.But here in south africa there is more than 3million zimbabweans,so the rest of them are going to stay as illigal immigrants or what and how does it benefit the government cz the rest wont be paying any taxes.Can someone please clarify this point for me.


by: Aqambile Sithole from: Pretoria
August 13, 2014 6:38 AM
South Africa has an official unemployment rate of over 25%, most affecting our youth. 250,000 jobs currently occupied by Zimbabwean citizens cannot continue forever. Well done, Gigabe, and do not buckle under the ruthless Zimbabwean lobbyist who appear to be ungrateful.

In Response

by: wolf tonic from: united states of america
August 27, 2014 5:28 AM
Don't you think the reason more zimbabweans are been employed than the youth of south africa is because they work harder and they more committed than south africans who want to wait for stuff to be done for them,also remember during apartheid south africans went to zimbabwe to seek help and you was welcomed with hugs,none of the the people of south africa needed papers to enter zimbabwe,but because 2dae yall have it u choose to look underneath the one who helped you once.....stop blaming other people for your failures...thank you

In Response

by: John phaswana from: Johannesburg
August 14, 2014 4:23 AM
Unemployment is a global problem lets view this in broader context, do we expect our neighbors Zimbabweans to die due to economic unrest and poverty. We are actually part of this world lets work together and try to help where we can. South African economy has already absorbed more than 2000000 Zimbabweans so i do not see it as a threat at all. It is actually a good thing to do as that will make it possible for the government to directly benefit through taxes.


by: Aquainted
August 12, 2014 4:40 PM
Really Malusi, please visit Zimbabwe yourself and see for yourself what a struggle people face at the Home Affairs Offices, especially at the main centers. Then there is the cost of the Passport and the delay. However this will be brushed aside as a requirement. Please take the time to re examine this.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid