By Tendai Mugabe
At least 200 000 Zimbabweans in South Africa face deportation at the expiry of their special dispensation permits on December 31.
South African Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba was quoted in the South African media last week, saying the special permit arrangement could not continue forever.
He said some Zimbabweans might be forced to regularise their stay in that country or apply for visas like other foreigners.
“We cannot offer permanent residency for such a high number of people,” said Minister Gigaba.
Minister Gigaba said there were 197 000 people on the special permit arrangement, adding that he would make an announcement on the ZSP before the end of this month.
He urged Zimbabweans to take full advantage of other visas provided by South Africa.
“We will make a well-thought-out decision, hopefully with the support of my cabinet colleagues.”
Minister Gigaba said his government was considering setting quotas on the number of foreigners interested in working or running businesses in South Africa.
He said they were also working on a proposal first made in the green paper on international migration in June to have quotas on the number of economic migrants in the country.
According to the South African Home Affairs Department, economic migrant refers to foreign nationals who migrate for economic reasons such as seeking employment or to conduct business.
Minister Gigaba said his country would start enforcing South African law requiring that 60 percent of all workforces should be made up of locals in the hospitality sector.
The law will also be enforced in the construction, agriculture and mining industries, which have a number of foreigners in their employ.
Ms Roshan Dadoo of the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa said the looming end of the ZSP made no sense as it could lead to Zimbabweans with jobs in the country being declared illegal. The Herald