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SA Immigration: Deportation of Zimbabweans Spells Doom

Harare – As relations between South Africans and foreign nationals turn sore, authorities remain alert for violence, while deportations co...

Harare – As relations between South Africans and foreign nationals turn sore, authorities remain alert for violence, while deportations could severely harm both countries, particularly the recipient.

More than 200 companies closed down in 2016, sending thousands home, says the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU). Harare’s economic prospects remain volatile and additional citizens could worsen the situation.

“There are no jobs for the majority of our people here in Zimbabwe. Zimbabweans who seek economic refuge in South Africa are mostly the youth, some of whom are university graduates. They take up menial jobs because they are poor and desperate,” the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) told the media.

Permit termination

An estimated 3 million Zimbabweans reside in South Africa illegally, engaging in menial jobs. Only 245 000 benefited from Zimbabwe Special Permits (ZSP) initiated in 2014. 

Harare contributes the largest number of immigrants to South Africa. 1,939 were granted permanent residence in 2013 out of 9,000 applicants.

After December 2017, South African Department of Home Affairs (DHA) will terminate ZPS permits, meaning affected individuals must voluntarily vacate the country, apply for normal permits or face deportation. 
Foreigners Face Deportation from South Africa 
Escaping to South Africa seemed to be relief for Goodson Dube. Since 2010, he has laboured in restaurants around Johannesburg. But the imminent removal of ZSP spells doom.

“Accordingly, we have advised Zimbabwean nationals whose special permits are expiring, to apply for visas we issue under the mainstream immigration legislation, in the event they aspire to stay for any other purpose or period,” pronounced Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba.

South Africa recruits foreigners possessing critical skills.

“The (DHA) can issue 10 year multiple entry visas or resident status for the people with critical skills,” pronounced Zuma, adding that, majority of foreigners living in South Africa are law abiding and contribute to the economy of the country positively.

Asylum nation

South Africa is among the top 10 countries where people seek asylum from all nations, often abusing this opportunity.

“The majority of those who seek asylum are men between the ages of 18 and 35. The department rejects about 95 percent of these applications because they are not genuine asylum seekers, but use their permits to work, study or operate businesses. They will not qualify under the Immigration Act for refugee status,” said Zuma during the opening of Home Affairs offices in Pretoria.

The influx of non-South Africans, according to Gigaba, has infuriated locals competing for jobs, access to economic opportunities and criminal activities involving foreigners. Recently, Mamelodi Concerned Residents for Service Delivery launched a march against foreign nationals.

Comments by Johannesburg mayor, Herman Mashaba in 2016, “calling immigrants illegal and criminals, who must be deported,” could have torched a storm.

Zimbabwe Community in South Africa replied that: “It has the potential of reigniting xenophobia. His utterances are backward, to say the least. You can’t do away with migrants. What is needed is to find a solution around the issues of documentation and the exploitation of migrants by employers.”

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