By Andile Tshuma
South Africa has advised Zimbabweans intending to seek permits to ensure their documents are in order and file their applications before the deadline on October 31.
The neighbouring country’s Department of Home Affairs says it will not accept late applications.
In an interview yesterday, Zimbabwe Consul General to South Africa Mr Batiraishe Mukonoweshuro said Zimbabweans based in the neighbouring country should ensure their passports are valid so that they are eligible to apply for work permits.
He said the biggest challenge for some Zimbabweans living in South Africa was that they are undocumented and do not have work permits.
Mr Mukonoweshuro said those who qualify under the Zimbabwe Exemption Permits should ensure that their papers are in order prior to the October 31submission deadline.
“It’s a known rule that there is no permit that is given on an expired passport. All those whose passports have expired or are about to expire should endeavour to apply for the emergency passport so that they give them to Home Affairs,” he said.
“This is because the process is to be done before October 31 this year and they have to make sure that those passports are with Home Affairs before that time if they want to be considered under the Zimbabwe Exemption Permits”.
Mr Mukonoweshuro advised Zimbabweans against waiting for the last minute to sort out their documentation as they risked congestion, delays and consequently failure to access services.
The Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) replaced the Zimbabwe Special Permit (ZSP) which expired at the end of last year.
The application process is facilitated online. More than 169 000 Zimbabweans had applied to regularise their stay in South Africa through the ZEP.
ZEP runs from January 2018 to 2021 and will replace the Zimbabwe Special Permit which accommodated close to 200 000 people and expires at the end of this year. 197 941 Zimbabweans held the special permits which expired in December 2018.