After making three study/practical training permit applications to the Department of Home Affairs Pretoria Pretorius street office in 2011 (my documents were lost by the DHA twice, and as a result I had to make a third application) I have now been waiting almost seven months for a study permit that is supposed to take 30 days.
The officials at the Pretorius street office are uninformed and dismissive, and have even suggested that I make a fourth submission of the same documents. My sister has been trying to renew her study permit since December 2011.
Recently, DHA officials told her to include documents from her landlord (detailing her residential address) and her birth certificate as part of her application. Yet these documents are not listed as mandatory on the DHA checklist. This makes one wonder: could DHA officials be using such information for their own gain? Officials have now told her to return to Zimbabwe without giving a legitimate reason.
Minister, as a distinguished academic yourself, and as a person who has lived, worked and studied in the United Kingdom, Swaziland and Zambia, you can imagine the frustration that hundreds of Zimbabwean (and other international) students have to endure as a result of the delay in issuing of study permits. Many of us cannot transact at the banks because we are not in possession of our permits, and as a result we are vulnerable to crime as we have to unnecessarily hold on to large amounts of cash. Furthermore, when dealing with landlords and hospitals we are forced to transact through third parties, which makes life very difficult. – Tau Tawengwa, RSAPost published in: Letters to the Editor