Minister pleased with Zim permits applications

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Cape Town – Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba says he is happy with the progress that the department has made in processing Zimbabwean Special Dispensation Permits across the country.

The Minister visited a Visa Facilitation Centre in Cape Town on Thursday morning to assess service delivery and to check if the applications processes were going smoothly.

“We are quite happy with the process as it is going. The capacity that we have is sufficient for us to be able to deal with this process within the timelines that we have established for ourselves.

“Because this process deals with 249 000 people, up to so far, we have received 64% electronic applications.

“So there is a very high level of compliance and we are confident that come December 31st, all the 249 000 Zimbabweans would have submitted their on-line applications and they would then be undergoing this process here in all the facilities we have established across the country to ensure that we can deal with their applications,” he said on the sidelines of his visit to the centre.

The Department of Home Affairs extended the current dispensation for Zimbabwean Special Dispensation Permits, which started in 2010 and which was finishing off this year, the Minister said.

The Zimbabwean Special Dispensation Permit is the successor to a permit issued as part of the Home Affairs Department’s Dispensation of Zimbabweans Project (DZP) which was implemented from 1 September to 31 December 2010.

Zimbabwean holders of the ZSP will be allowed to work, conduct business or study in South Africa for three years, until the end of December 2017.

“We introduced earlier this year a new permit for Zimbabweans to extend their permits which is applicable to those who are current holders of the DZP.

“We not taking new applications because any other Zimbabwean who was not on the DZP must now apply for a normal visa which is applicable in the law,” the Minister said.

Minister Gigaba said 11 Visa Facilitation Centres have been set up around the country to deal with all the normal visa applications.

“According to the Immigration Act and the new regulations, you can change your status or extend your visa whilst in South Africa at any of our centres,” he said.

After taking a tour of the Cape Town centre and interacting with Zimbabwean applicants, the Minister said he was happy with the speed with which the applications were being processed.

“Here, we deal with about 300 applications per day. Around the country, we deal with about 1 000 applications per day.

“As you can see here, people spend at most 25 minutes at these offices. So these facilities are then going to be utilised for applicants from other Southern African countries,” he said.

The Minister said he expected that all permits will have been issued by March next year.

He said Zimbabwean nationals who have submitted applications but have not had their permits issued will be allowed to cross Beitbridge should they wish to go home during the festive season and be allowed back into the country, provided their applications have been captured.

Once the Zimbabwean Special Project has been concluded, his department would then look at using the Visa Facilitation Centres to process applications from other foreign nationals from Southern African countries.

“From now we will begin a process of dealing with Basotho, then dealing with Mozambican nationals and other SADC nationals that are in the country so that we have all of them registered.  

“In the main, we are also trying to ensure that we have got a database of all the foreign nationals that are in our country so that we can keep them within our own systems in Home Affairs and ensure that they are also accessible to other services of the state should they be required,” he said. –