South Africa Tuesday said it will renew temporary work and residence permits for around 250,000 Zimbabweans that are due to expire in December.
The permits were issued in 2010 under a special programme to document illegal Zimbabwean immigrants in South Africa. Pretoria tightened its immigration regulations early this year, a move that created anxiety among Zimbabweans who feared a mass expulsion.
South African Home Affairs minister Malusi Gigaba said the visas would be extended until 2013.
“This was a significant gesture of support and solidarity with our neighbouring country of Zimbabwe in response to the large number of Zimbabweans residing illegally in South Africa due to political and economic instability there,” he said.
“Approximately 295,000 Zimbabweans applied for the permit. “Just over 245 000 permits were issued, with the balance being denied due to lack of passports or non-fulfillment of other requirements.”
Mr Gigaba said South Africa believed Zimbabwe’s economy was on the mend and this would make it possible for the economic refugees to return home soon. “We welcome Zimbabwe’s return to a path of stability and prosperity,’’, he said.
- Daily Nation
FOLLOW NEW AFRICA DAILY NEWS ON FACEBOOK @ New Africa Business News.com