Home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba is expected to announce changes to the country’s position on Zimbabwe special permits (ZSPs) before the end of the month – with all indications that there is no room for extension, according to a report by The Sunday Times.
This follows earlier confirmation by home affairs media liasion officer Thabo Mokgola to Ground Up, who noted that “the Minister has made it clear that there would not be an extension of the ZSP.”
The ZSP was first introduced in October 2014, as a three year permit that would allow Zimbabwean nationals living in the country to legally work, own a businesses and study in South Africa, despite not carrying a valid visa.
By ending the ZSP programme, Zimbabwean nationals (who are not currently in the country legally) will now only be allowed to enter the country if they meet the requirements for a regular study, work or business visa. They would also need to leave South Africa and apply for these visas back in Zimbabwe.
In February, Gigaba announced a new hard-line stance on foreigners in the country and noted that he would be specifically targeting businesses who hire undocumented workers, saying that they will be found out and charged.
Violence against foreigners in South Africa has also escalated in recent months, including an ‘anti-foreigner’ march held by residents in Pretoria, and the burning of alleged ‘brothels and drug dens’ in Rosettenville, Johannesburg, which were mainly occupied by foreigners.