News / Africa

S. Africa’s New Immigration Laws Worry Zimbabwean Immigrants

South Africa’s Tough New Immigration Laws Worry Zimbabwean Immigrantsi
June 13, 2014 12:08 PM
Four years ago, the South African government granted amnesty to hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans -- who had fled to that country seeking asylum from political violence at home. But now, the Pretoria government is tightening its immigration laws -- a move which could make it difficult for many Zimbabweans to remain. For VOA, Thuso Khumalo has more from Johannesburg.
Four years ago, the South African government granted amnesty to hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans -- who had fled to that country seeking asylum from political violence at home.  But now, the Pretoria government is tightening its immigration laws -- a move which could make it difficult for many Zimbabweans to remain. 

Turmoil in Zimbabwe over the years has forced huge numbers of Zimbabweans -- to flee into neighboring South Africa.
Some officials estimate that two million Zimbabweans now live in the country.

But life here has not been easy. Those who fled political violence have to line up for days -- sometimes even at night -- to apply for asylum.

Many of these immigrants say tough new immigration laws have made their lives difficult.

Under the new laws announced in May, some 300,000 Zimbabweans who were given amnesty permits are now required to return home to extend their visa.

Zimbabwean immigrant Dorcas Mero -- who is now bedridden after a serious road accident --said the new law has brought her life to a standstill. “I’m worried and I’m afraid as well, if they deport me in this situation, I’m afraid,” she said.
Her husband, Gift Nhidza, who was injured in the same accident, is in a similar predicament. “I’m very bitter about these new laws and I think the new minister of Home Affairs should revisit and engage the people about their problems,” he added.

Bishop Paul Verryn, of the Central Methodist Church in Johannesburg, compares the new immigration laws to those from South Africa's discriminatory past. "It feels as if we are dealing with the same kind of complications as we dealt with, with the past laws in the old apartheid era,” he explained. 

These immigrants say their fate is now in the hands of the South African government.

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Comment Sorting
by: kollen from: kwaMashu
July 06, 2014 4:14 AM
why zimbabwean at least they got permit,why cant you do the same to the Nigerian,malawian,congolese,its like you are holding a grudge.there are lots of foreigners who are walking freely without even a permit but now you puting a hard blow to zim pple who are legally staying,but dont forget that you are also a human being like the zimbabwean next to you,I will never allow you to stand on my way,and noone will go back,what we did to apply here is the same way we are you think the our emloyer will wait fo us once we go back to zim and who will give me money to come back,YOU ARE TOO HARSH to innocent pple.

by: collen from: kenfield
July 05, 2014 4:10 PM
what about our pakage since we were employed pwerminantly,our kids with the south african woman,our UIF and our persion,plus we are not scared bcose the day i came here you didnt gave me deport me today i came back the following day,i cant let my family die when i know where i can get food,its going to b a war watch my words,we are there one supporting our parents no mugabe or tsvangirai those are there to see us suffer,

by: Revai from: Scotland
June 22, 2014 1:18 AM
Dzokerai kumba
In Response

by: Patty Shayne from: UK
June 22, 2014 4:07 AM
Easy for u to say. Why don't you go back home as well?

by: prince from: jhb
June 16, 2014 4:23 AM
Such is life to us zimbabweans ,it never rains it pours,now it will be back to border jumping! We have to survive ,back home things r bad.

by: Sammy
June 13, 2014 2:27 PM
Briefly it would help if VOA mentioned what these new regulations were.
In Response

by: Patty Shayne from: UK
June 22, 2014 4:02 AM
True, I agree with you Sammy
In Response

by: thandeka from: jhb
June 14, 2014 2:05 AM
We have too much going on to us South Africans alone we don't need to deal with Zimbabwe as well, they should go back to their country. I wish SA was strict as Botswana

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