Home Affairs taking nine months to process permits for Zimbabweans

Cindy (surname withheld) told GroundUp in an email: “I submitted my paperwork in January and still nothing.” She says she was suspended from work six weeks ago. Her employer wants her to show a valid permit. She did provide proof of application and showed the receipt‚ but she says her employer wasn’t satisfied.

A Zimbabwean man‚ who also wished to remain anonymous‚ said he submitted a ZEP study permit for his daughter in February but he only got an SMS notification that his daughter’s application was received by Home Affairs on 24 August. He said his Capitec bank account has been frozen.

Helen (surname withheld) is worried that she may not get her wages this week after FNB froze her account in December last year. Her employer has been paying her in cash but says the company cannot continue to do that.

The ZEP Dispensation Forum on Facebook is encouraging Zimbabweans not to merely check online but to actually visit the offices of Visa Facilitation Centre (VFS)‚ the company that processes the permits for Home Affairs. The page has posts from people who applied in November 2017 and have not yet received their ZEPs and from people who have been struggling without documentation.

Most Zimbabweans in South Africa have been uncertain about their future in the country since the inception of the Dispensation of Zimbabwean Permit (DZP) in 2010. About 245‚000 DZPs were issued. It was valid for four years and was supposed to be non-renewable. It was later extended to three years and renamed the ZSP in 2014. Just under 200‚000 ZSP permits were issued. Again in December 2016‚ Home Affairs said there would be no renewal of the ZSP‚ but it created the ZEP in 2017‚ valid for four years.

On the ZEP it states that the document “doesn’t allow the holder to apply for permanent residence irrespective of the period of stay in South Africa. ZEP will not be renewable and the holder cannot change conditions of the permit in SA”.

  • This article was first published in GroundUp. 

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