Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Bureau
SOUTH Africa’s Home Affairs Department is sitting on 3 000 Zimbabwe Exemption Permits (ZEP) which have not been collected for the past nine months and has enlisted the services of the Zimbabwe Consulate in that country to help by notifying those who applied.
Pretoria introduced a four-year permit known as the Zimbabwe Exemption Permit (ZEP) for those wishing to study or work in that country in January 2018. The permits are valid between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2021 and replaced the Zimbabwe Special Permit (ZSP) which expired in December 2017.
A total of 197 941 holders of the ZSP permit were eligible to apply for the ZEP when the programme started but only 169 000 managed to apply via the Visa Facilitation Services.
Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to South Africa, Mr David Hamadziripi, confirmed the development yesterday.
“We have received communication from our hosts that they have 3 000 permits processed under the ZEP which have been uncollected for the past nine months.
“Reasons vary from the fact that other people have left South Africa or others have expired passports. However, through the assistance of our Registrar General we managed to facilitate to expedite issuance of passports for those who had pending applications at the VFS,” he said.
Mr Hamadziripi said the ZEP programme was ongoing and appealed to those who haven’t collected completed permits to do so before the end of this month. He said it was important for all those who were yet to get feedback on the status of their applications to approach the VFS.
“On the other hand our officers are working on modalities to notify those that we can reach.
“You will realise that when DHA opened the application processes there are those who qualified for the ZEP but had challenges of expiring permits. We then helped these to get new documents,” said Mr Hamadziripi.
“Currently DHA has come back again to seek assistance in reaching out to those with completed but did not collect permits. It is our hope that our compatriots will respond positively.”
The Chronicle understands that those who fail to collect the special permits from VFS risk losing out since they will be destroyed by the DHA in line with their statutes.