2nd Stakeholders Zimbabwe Special Dispensation Permit Meeting

Understanding the new regulations for Zimbabweans living in South Africa

The meeting was held on the 17th of September at the Hilton Hotel, Sandton. The purpose behind it was to explain the ZSDP application process, providing further clarity on the ZSDP, and setting an agreement on how the Zimbabwe Stakeholders Forum would be engaged regarding the issue.

The Zimbabwe Special Dispensation Permit is a recently introduced permit which is a successor to the previous DZP (Dispensation of Zimbabweans Project) permit. The new regulations surrounding this permit generated some confusion and uncertainty among Zimbabwean expats.

Rishen Mahabeeer from VFS Global was there to enlighten people about how the project will be managed from the 1st of October 2014 to the 31st of April 2015. The management of the project is meant to ensure that the processes are more efficient and therefore hassle free for applicants.

A significant strength of the application process is that it will cater for people who applied as far back as 2010, and the people who did not receive their permits or whose applications were rejected. Existing application centres are being advanced, and new ones are being built in various locations. An additional convenience is the online application, which makes it easier for people to check their application status.

The issue raised during the questions and comments phase was that of the lack in communication and coordination between the service providers and public institutions. People that were not in possession of a permit, at the border post, were seen as undesirables which made it harder to get the relevant help. Home Affairs suggested that applicants make use of online channels to lodge complaints, such as emailing. On the issue of teachers and frozen bank accounts the Department said it will send formal notification letters to all departments involved.

The meeting was informative in the sense that people found out how long the process takes and whether Work permits can be moved to Business permits. Home Affairs and all the organisations who attended like the Zimbabwean Embassy in Pretoria, Zimbabwe Consulate Johannesburg, Movement for Democratic Change-South Africa, CoRMSA as well as ACTION Support Centre were equipped with an improved understanding of the ZSDP, to support the many Zimbabweans who it affected.