Migrants seek easier permit renewal…

Migrants’ rights organisations are still trying to negotiate better renewal terms for Zimbabwean permits.

Butholezwe Nyathi
Butholezwe Nyathi

Most of the permits, issued under the Zimbabwe Documentation Project, expire towards the end of this year. The permits were valid for four years and, unlike normal permits, don’t qualify their holders for permanent residence status in South Africa.

South Africa revealed recently that, while the permits would be renewed, holders would be required to make their applications back in their home country.

Zimbabwean migrants believe the latest shift of policy, partly in line with recent amendments to the SA migration laws, could be a ploy to reject their applications.

“It was very difficult to convince our employers to write us recommendation letters or to even give us days off to apply for the permits and this new requirement will see us lose our jobs,” said Sihle Ndlovu.

“Travelling to Zimbabwe and back for the renewal would require about a week, and employers would not allow that. I think South Africa is just fed up with us and wants us to lose our jobs in the process.”

Deputy home affairs minister Fatima Chohan told a press conference in Pretoria last week that all DZP permit holders were expected to leave the country at the expiry of their documents, whether they were work, study or business permits.

Migrants’ rights organisations are still trying to negotiate a better solution. “We are seeking dialogue with the South African government on this,” said Daniel Muzenda, spokesperson for Zimbabwe Migrants International.

Butholezwe Nyathi, national coordinator of Migrants Workers’ Association of South Africa, said his organisation thought the best option was in a collective effort.

…as Zimbabweans fall prey to fake document scam

A Zimbabwean man is still struggling to recover his money a year after being duped into applying for a permit that turned out to be fake.

Morelife Namara told The Zimbabwean this week that he lost R4,000 to a company called Executive Travel last year, in what now appears to be a permit scam.

“I paid R4,000 when I applied for the permit and the agent took my details, pay slip and proof of residence,” said Namara, who lives in Johannesburg.

But Namara became suspicious after he advised the agent that he wanted to travel home sometime this year.

Fake permit.
Fake permit.

“When I told him that I was going to the border, he said my permit was not ready to pass the border and asked me to pay an extra R1,200, but I refused and continued with my journey. At the border, I was told that my passport was fake.

“When I called the agent back to ask him what was happening, he only said he was sorry and did not propose any remedial action. Now he is no longer taking my calls. I want a valid permit or my money back from him.”

Countless efforts to get a comment from the agent were fruitless. Having initially claimed his permits were genuine and promised a meeting with our reporter, he stopped answering calls.

Police in Pretoria, from where the agent, who called himself ‘Ryan’, used to operate, said they would only start a search after a formal report was made.

Namara, who said he could recognise the suspected criminal if he met him again, said he delayed making the report hoping that Ryan would meet him halfway and either pay back his money or give him a valid permit.

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