Story by ZBC Reporter
ZIMBABWEANS with South African visas have been given more time to regularise their stay in the neighbouring country after the deadline for renewal of long-term permits was extended to December.
The extension does not however apply to holders of Zimbabwe Exemption Permits, which expire on the 30th of June.
At a time when hundreds of thousands of Zimbabwean nationals are working in South Africa, the neighbouring country has been encouraging foreign nationals to regularise their stay by applying for short-term permits popularly known as the Zimbabwe Exemption Permit (ZEP) and long-term permits.
South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs confirmed in a statement this Thursday that the deadline for long-term permits has been extended to the 31st of December subject to applying for renewal by the 31st of March.
The department however said ZEP holders will not benefit from the extension with the South African government making no further concessions after extending the deadline on several occasions.
Zimbabwe’s ambassador to South Africa, Mr David Hamadziripi also confirmed the development, adding ZEP holders should comply with the ongoing government mapping exercise.
The Zimbabwean embassy in South Africa has embarked on a returnees mapping exercise as part of government efforts to assist those who would like to return home ahead of the 30 June deadline for ZEP holders.
The exercise saw an online portal being opened to capture details of all Zimbabweans who might need assistance in the form of transport and cushioning benefits for their safe return.
Government has also capacitated the Beitbridge border post to handle the expected huge numbers.