from GIFT NDOLWANE in Johannesburg, South Africa
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – THE process to apply for new permits by thousands of Zimbabweans in South Africa has gotten off to a frustrating start.
Some misinformed Zimbabweans have flocked the offices of the South African Department of Home Affairs and the VFS Global as the process to extend the permits of thousands of these nationals resumed on Friday.
Non-governmental organisations, themselves bearing the brunt of the recurrent cable theft recently, said they had also been inundated by some national eager to extend their permits but unfamiliar with the process.
Applications for the new Zimbabwean Exemption permit (ZEP) can be done online at the VFS offices ahead of the December 31 lapse of the Zimbabwean Special Dispensation permit (ZSP).
The Peace and Democracy Project (PDP) confirmed attending to some oblivious Zimbabweans that had swarmed the Home Affairs and VFS bases in Gauteng, a province the majority of the more than 200 000 current permit holders work, study and operate businesses.
“I urge people not to go to the offices as you will be chased away,” Gilbert Mabhena Moyo, Senior Co-ordinator at PDP said.
Meanwhile, Mabhena Moyo decried the internet connection challenges, which led to a failure to post applications.
He blamed last week’s cable theft in Johannesburg but assured authorities were resolving the issue.
“We hope to be in full swing by Monday,” Mabhena Moyo said.
After a slow start in the morning, with the online form still unavailable by 9am, it was accessible in the afternoon but glitches still experience dd at the time of publication.
VFS officials could not be reached for comment.
Cut-off date for submission of applications is November 30.
An administrative fee of R1 090 will be charged.
ZEP permits will be issued for a maximum period of four years, effective January 1, 2018.
The application process ends uncertainty among Zimbabweans after months of lack of clarity and a cabinet reshuffle that led to the appointment of Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize, in place of now-Finance Minister, Malusi Gigaba.
“I trust that the ZEP will go a long way in assisting the Zimbabweans to rebuild their lives as they prepare, at work, in business and in educational institutions, for their final return to their sovereign state– Zimbabwe – in the near future, Mkhize said at the announcement of the new permits last week.
– CAJ News