DZP holders keenly await new SA cabinet

Zimbabwean Documentation Project (DZP) beneficiaries are waiting with bated breath for South Africa’s new cabinet.

Deputy minister Fatima Chohan made initial announcement.
Deputy minister Fatima Chohan made initial announcement.

Following recent elections that put the African National Congress back in charge, President Jacob Zuma is set to appoint a new cabinet soon after his inauguration on Saturday.

Zimbabwean migrants are hoping for a sympathetic home affairs minister, following conflicting reports on how they will be required to renew their permits.

Recent announcements by incumbent deputy minister, Fatima Chohan, were that permit holders would be required to renew their permits in their home country, a move that could plunge some political victims back into the jaws of Zanu (PF), or prevent them from returning home at all.

Chohan had promised that Home Affairs Minister, Naledi Pandor, would make a detailed statement on the issue. But with her likely to leave her post and following engagement with civil society and revelations that the Zimbabwean government and other stakeholders have not yet been informed of that decision, beneficiaries are still hopeful of a softer stance.

“Some of us still do not have the permits we applied for long back. Asking us to go and start all over again in Zimbabwe will not help at all. It is better when we do it from here, where we started,” said Senzo Ndlovu.

Another concern is that with the permits having already begun to lapse, there could be commotion in renewing, following lack of communication between the two governments.

A coalition of NGOs – The Partners Committee, coordinated by South African Forum for International Solidarity (SAFIS), Solidarity Peace Trust (SPT) and African Diaspora Forum (ADF) – is trying to find a solution.

“We were given a very senior director at Home Affairs to engage and we believe our efforts made the government come out publicly about what will happen. When we heard that the issue had been referred to Cabinet, we started preparing a submission to Cabinet,” said Butholezwe Nyathi, the national coordinator for Migrant Workers Association of Southern Africa, an associate member. “The issue is not only about Special Dispensation Permits, but includes the delay in processing documentation leading to people losing their jobs, corruption and lack information..”

Nyathi also encouraged individuals and organisations to join forces with the Partners Committee. “We should not panic or over-react. We need to work as a collective and speak with one voice,” he said.

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