MDC SA Launches Zimbabwe Special Permit (ZSP) Contact Centre

MDC SA Launches Zimbabwe Special Permit (ZSP) Contact Centre  

The MDC SA would like to announce the establishment of the Zimbabwe Special Permit (ZSP) Contact Centre which will provide information on the ZSP permits whose application process starts today the 1st October 2014.

 

The number to call is 060 416 0398 and assistance will be available via WhatsApp, sms and voice calls. The centre will operate during business hours i.e. between 8am and 5pm.

 

We would like to encourage people to start the application process and avoid any last minute rush.

 

 

Kumbirai T Muchemwa

MDC SA Information and Publicity Secretary

Mobile: +27 73 470 4310

kmuchemwa@mdcsa.co.za

MDC SA Welcomes SCA Ruling on the Rights of Asylum Seekers and Refugees to Operate Spaza Shops

Press Statement

 

30th September 2014

 

MDC SA Welcomes SCA Ruling on the Rights of Asylum Seekers and Refugees to Operate Spaza Shops

The MDC SA acclaims the decision of the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in which the court ruled that refugees and asylum seekers have a legal right to operate spaza or tuck shops in South Africa and overturned a previous High Court decision.

The appeal was brought to court by a group of Somali and Ethiopian nationals who had suffered harm when Operation Hardstick was carried out by the police in Limpopo. According to court documents the operation closed about 600 businesses run by foreign nationals whether licenced or not, the police also extorted bribes and did not enforce similar rules for business owned by South Africans. The foreign nationals faced insuperable difficulties in getting the relevant municipal licences and a failure to provide proof of licencing resulted in the immediate closure of their businesses and confiscation of property including fridges, freezers and stock.

This ruling is important because foreigners are often easy targets during times of societal upheaval in communities. There seems to be a general attitude that the operation of spaza shops is a sole privilege reserved for South African citizens. The result is that it somehow seems acceptable for businesses operated by foreign nationals to be looted because they should not be there in the first place.

The decision of the court makes it clear that the problem is not legal it is social, it is in the hearts and minds of the members of the very communities that these businesses serve.

The ruling is an important milestone in the fight against xenophobia and it needs to be distributed as widely as possible to effect the change in mindset that is required.

Foreign nationals, never mind their country of origin have a right to self-employment and as the learned Judge notes there is no restrictive legislation or legal conditions in place that prohibits foreign nationals from being granted spaza or tuck-shop licences.

Let the message be heard loud and clear all over the country.

Foreigner nationals operating spaza shops are not subverting the law, they have a right to apply for licences to operate those businesses, if anything they deserve protection that is guaranteed in terms of the Constitution of South Africa.

Kumbirai T Muchemwa

MDC SA Information and Publicity Secretary

Mobile: +27 73 470 4310

kmuchemwa@mdcsa.co.za

Statement by the Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Malusi Gigaba, in relation to the implementation of the Zimbabwean Special Permit on 25 September 2014

Statement by the Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Malusi Gigaba, in relation to the implementation of the Zimbabwean Special Permit on 25 September 2014

 

Good morning to everyone.

On the 12th of August, 2014, I announced the establishment of the Zimbabwean Special Permit (ZSP) of 2014 allowing Zimbabwean holders of this special permit to work, conduct business or study in South Africa for three years, until the end of December 2017.

As explained then, only the approximately 245 000 holders of the Dispensation for Zimbabweans Project (DZP) are eligible to apply for the ZSP.

As the Department of Home Affairs will begin accepting applications via the website for the ZSP on October 1, 2014, we would like to take this opportunity to update stakeholders and the public on the implementation of the ZSP.

In short, the Department is ready.

We, along with our application processing partner VFS, have completed all the necessary preparations to process all prospective applications for the ZSP.

All the 10 ZSP Application Centres have been secured by VFS.

These include totally new centres in the provinces of Gauteng (Midrand), Western Cape (Cape Town), Limpopo (Polokwane) and Kwazulu-Natal (Durban).

The remaining six centres are in George, Port Elizabeth, Kimberley, Bloemfontein, Nelspruit and Rustenburg.

These six will be operating from the existing visa and permit centres.

Capacity has been set aside within our Permitting section to be able to process the applications.

Currently there are 120 dedicated staff members who will be dealing with ZSP adjudication.

From October 1st, Zimbabweans will be able to apply online as per the initial plan.

To this end, a website will be up and running to allow this process to take off.

The website address to be used when lodging applications will be http://www.vfsglobal.com/zsp/southafrica.

In response to concerns about computer literacy and internet access, we will monitor this closely to see if these become issues, and mitigate accordingly.

We are confident that internet access is sufficiently high in SA.

As for applicants knowing how to actually complete their application, we will work with groups of stakeholders such as this one to publicize and demonstrate the correct procedure.

We explained previously that we would announce the application fee, after finalizing the costs associated with the administration of the ZSP.

In line with the ‘user pays’ principle, and like the vast majority of countries, we charge applicants for visas and permits for the cost of administering them.

The application fee for the ZSP is set at R870.

We believe this fee is reasonable, when compared with visas and permits of similar duration.

It is also reasonable, when considering the infrastructure we are setting up to allow applicants to apply here in South Africa, without having to leave the country as would usually be required, with associated travel costs for applicants.

 

Thank you very much for your attention.

Feedback from the Meeting with the Department Home Affairs held today 17.09.2014 on the Application Process for the Zimbabwe Special permits

Feedback from the Meeting  with the  Department Home Affairs held today  17.09.2014 on the Application Process for the Zimbabwe Special permits

  • The application fee is 800 rands per application
  • Processing time is 8 weeks
  • Police clearance – There will be an announcement of when and where people can apply for clearances
  • All permits expire on the 31st of Dec 2014
  • If one wants to change the type of permit – it is possible. The only requirement is to submit the relevant documentation.
  • The applications for ZSP includes those who were rejected
  • Only those who previously applied will be granted – even if there is a new born or children who have moved from Zimbabwe, new spouses etc.
  • If a person is moving from a DZP to a normal permit then there is no need to leave the country to apply for a new permit. This requirement only applies to visitors and medical visas.
  • Make sure you put valid cellphone numbers
  • If you miss the appointment – you have to show good cause why you missed the appointment otherwise a reappointment will not be accepted
  • There will be an extensive media campaign informing people of the application process
  • There are 10 application centres in SA – 4 of them new
  • The application process is as follows. A person will apply online on the VFS website and then call the VFS call centre to make an appointment to submit their documents in person. You cannot visit VFS centre without a prior appointment.
  • DHA will communicate with other Government departments, SABRIC (the banking association), SAPS, Metro Police and all other relevant stakeholders that the permits are still valid
  • People declared undesirable because they have overstayed. The appeal must be lodged with 10 days. Even if the permit was not granted – the person must appeal on the basis that they have a pending application.
  • There are 3 types of permits and the requirements for each permit are listed below
  • Study Permit – Letter from institution of learning, valid passport, police clearance
  • Work Permit- Valid Passport, letter from employer, police clearance. Home Affairs will check if people are employed
  • Business Permit – valid passport, SARS registration, proof of business registration, police clearance

Remarks By Minister Malusi Gigaba, On The Announcement of the Zimbabwean Special Dispensation Permit in Pretoria, 12 August, 2014

Remarks By Minister Malusi Gigaba, On The Announcement of the Zimbabwean Special Dispensation Permit in Pretoria, 12 August, 2014

Good morning fellow South Africans, members of the media, and interested stakeholders.

In April 2009, the Cabinet of the Republic of South Africa approved the Dispensation of Zimbabweans Project – or ‘DZP’ – allowing Zimbabwean holders of this special permit to work, conduct business and study in South Africa.

The objectives then were to:

  • Regularize Zimbabweans residing in South Africa illegally
  • Curb the deportation of Zimbabweans who were in SA illegally
  • Reduce pressure on the asylum seeker and refugee regime, and
  • Provide amnesty to Zimbabweans who obtained SA documents fraudulently

This was a significant gesture of support and solidarity with our neighboring country of Zimbabwe in response to the large number of Zimbabweans residing illegally in South Africa due to political and economic instability there.

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.

These permits begin expiring on 31 December 2014.

The approaching expiry date has caused anxiety for many permit-holders, particularly those who are not ready to return to Zimbabwe, as they contemplate their next steps.

The Department of Home Affairs has been considering this matter for some time.

I recently met with my Zimbabwean counterpart, Minister Kembo Mohadi, to discuss matters of mutual concern, including the imminent expiry of the DZP.

While we note the ongoing political and economic recovery in Zimbabwe, consistently supported by the South African government, we are aware that it will take time for her to fully stabilize.

As you will know, the Department of Home Affairs is mandated to manage immigration effectively, to promote our country’s development, enhance its security, and fulfill its international obligations.

Our management of immigration is also informed by our foreign policy, one feature of which is Pan-Africanism.

South Africa recognizes itself as an integral part of the African continent and therefore understands its national interest as being intrinsically linked to Africa’s stability, unity, and prosperity.

Finally, we are committed to manage immigration in a way which treats all visitors humanely, in an efficient manner and according to our own deeply-embedded human rights ethos.

We are appreciative of the many contributions made by Zimbabweans in our society and economy.

Zimbabweans have made notable contributions in our education and health sectors for example as teachers and health professionals, and in many other sectors.

In general, we appreciate the contribution of the immigrants in our country in terms of enhancing our social, cultural and economic life.

We are aware that Zimbabwe will need this rich human capital to further advance its own development, but accept that for the time being, many DZP permit-holders would prefer to continue their stay in South Africa.

It is in this context, that in recent weeks I have taken note of this anxiety and promised to outline a way forward, after consultation with Cabinet.

The Department of Home Affairs developed a proposal, refined in recent months, which was accepted by Cabinet on 6 August 2014.

Section 31(2) of the Immigration Act states that: “upon application, the Minister may under terms and conditions determined by him:

– grant a foreigner or a category of foreigners the rights of permanent residence for a specified or unspecified period when special circumstances exist which would justify such a decision. Provided that the Minister may

  • (i) exclude one or more identified foreigners from such categories,
  • (ii) or with good cause, withdraw such rights from a foreigner or category of foreigners.”

The Act further empowers the Minister to: “for good cause, withdraw an exemption granted by him or her in terms of this section.

Accordingly, I announce today, the closure of the Dispensation for Zimbabwe Project, as of 31 December, 2014.

As a result, it is important to note that the expiry date of all DZP permits which expire before 31 December 2014 is accordingly delayed until 31 December 2014. The expiry date of those DZP permits which expire after December 2014, is being brought forward to 31 December 2014.

Furthermore, I hereby announce the creation of the new Zimbabwean Special Dispensation Permit of 2014, or to use the acronym, the ‘ZSP’.

All relevant and available details are outlined in the media packs accompanying this announcement, but I will give an overview of the most important details.

DZP permit-holders who wish to remain in South Africa after the expiry of their permits, can reapply for the ZSP, subject to certain conditions.

These conditions include, but are not limited to: a valid Zimbabwean passport; evidence of employment, business or accredited study; and a clear criminal record.

The ZSP will allow permit-holders to live, work, conduct business and study in South Africa, for the duration of the permit, which is valid until 31 December, 2017.

Applications will open on 01 October 2014, and close on 31 December 2014.

Applications will be managed by our partner VFS, and adjudicated by the Department of Home Affairs.

VFS will open four new offices in provinces where we anticipate large numbers of applicants, namely Gauteng, Western Cape, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.

These are in addition to the eleven offices already open, all of which will deal with ZSP applications.

In line with the new, improved process for all visa and permit applications, applications will begin online, with appointments given for in-person finalization at a visa facilitation center.

Therefore there will be no queues as experienced in the past, and we trust applicants will enjoy a pleasant and efficient application experience.

An administration fee will apply, which we will communicated once it has been decided, after the completion of discussions between the Department and VFS.

ZSP permit-holders who wish to stay in South Africa after the expiry of the ZSP, must return to Zimbabwe to apply for mainstream visas and permits under the Immigration Act, subject to the relevant requirements.

These applications will be considered within 12 months of the expiry of the ZSP permits, so from January 2017.

We will now embark on an extensive stakeholder engagement process, to inform DZP permit-holders and other interested parties about the ZSP process.

We will continue the productive engagement we enjoyed with stakeholder formations during the DZP process four years ago, but of course are open to work with new stakeholders which may have emerged since then.

The Department of Home Affairs, on behalf of the government and people of South Africa welcomes visitors from Zimbabwe, SADC, Africa and the rest of the world.

We welcome Zimbabwe’s return to a path of stability and prosperity, and remain committed to cooperation and partnership with our valued neighbor.

The ZSP is a temporary bridge to the near future when all Zimbabweans will reenter the mainstream immigration process in South Africa.

I thank you.

South Africa Approves new Zimbabwean Dispensation process

Please find an extract from the Statement of the South African Cabinet Meeting held on the 6th of August 2014

The full statement is available via this link – http://bit.ly/1qYXLgD

Statement on the Cabinet meeting of 6 August 2014

 

3. Key Cabinet decisions

3.3. Cabinet approved the new Zimbabwean Dispensation process. The Minster of Home Affairs will conduct a separate media briefing to announce details of this process