ZIMBABWEANS residing and working in South Africa heaved a tremendous sigh of relief Tuesday after Pretoria extended by further three years specific permits issued in past.
"The approaching expiry date has caused stress for many permit holders, especially those not ready to return to Zimbabwe, as they consider their next steps," Gigaba said.
"While we note the ongoing political and economic recovery in Zimbabwe, consistently supported by the South African government, we're aware it will take some time for her to completely stabilize."
The minister, who recently met his counterpart from the other side of the Limpopo over the matter, said South Africa was creating a "new Zimbabwean Special Dispensation Permit of 2014", known in short as ZSP.
"The ZSP will let permit-holders to reside, work, run company and study in South Africa, for the duration of the permit, which is valid until December 31, 2017," Gigaba said.
"We welcome Zimbabwe's return to a path of stability and prosperity, and stay committed to alliance and partnership with our treasured neighbor.
"The ZSP is a short-term bridge to the close future when all Zimbabweans re-enter the mainstream immigration process in South Africa.
"ZSP permit holders who want to stay in South Africa after the expiry of the ZSP, must return to Zimbabwe to apply for mainstream visas and permits under the Immigration Act, subject to the applicable demands."
Applications for the permits close on December 31, 2014 and would open on October 1, 2014.
Gigaba said all permits which expire before December 31, 2014 were deemed not to have expired until the final day of the year. Gigaba included that all permits that are expiring after December 31, 2014 were brought forward to December 31, 2014.
To apply for the permit, individuals should provide "a valid Zimbabwean passport, evidence of employment, company or accredited study along with a clear criminal record."
He said the South African government had started four new offices in Western Cape Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga to deal with the applications.
Gigaba said South Africa valued the many contributions made by Zimbabweans in the country's economy.
"Zimbabweans have made noteworthy contributions in our education and health sectors, for example, as teachers and health professionals, and in a number of other sectors," he said.
The minister added that South Africa was, however, not unmindful of the fact that Zimbabwe wanted its human-resource base for economic development.
“... but (we) except that, for the time being, many DZP permit-holders would prefer to carry on their stay in South Africa. Our management of immigration is also advised by our foreign policy, one feature of which is Pan Africanism," the minister said.
"South Africa recognizes itself as an integral part of the African continent and so understands its national interest as being intrinsically linked to Africa's stability, unity, and prosperity.
"We are dedicated to manage immigration in a way, which treats all visitors humanely, economically and according to our own deeply-embedded human rights ethos."
At least 245,000 Zimbabweans are registered under the special permits.
ZSP Applications Reviews & Tips
Read to discover that you are eligible for the new Zimbabwean Special Dispensation Permit or not.
Zimbabwean nationals who've been living and working in the Republic of South Africa with the Dispensation of Zimbabweans Project (DZP) must now apply for this visa's successor known as the Zimbabwean Special Dispensation permit (ZSP), but it's vital that you comprehend both permits.
The Zimbabwean Special Dispensation permit
This permit follows on the Dispensation of Zimbabweans Project executed in April 2009.
The DZP was created to record a database of Zimbabweans, who fled political and financial instability in Zimbabwe and might have been living in South Africa illegally while also providing amnesty to Zimbabweans, who had been using fraudulent South African identity document.
This program saw the South African Department of Home Affairs waived some permit conditions and application fees.
Visa applications from Zimbabweans were also accepted without all the usual supporting documents, including passports, to hasten the procedure.
About 295,000 DZP visas were issued between 1 September 2010 and 31 December 2010 applications for the first DZP permits could be submitted from 1 September 2010 to 31 December 2010 and were legal for four years.
"Only over 245,000 [DZP] permits were issued, with the equilibrium being refused due to deficiency of passports or non-fulfillment of other demands," described Gigaba in a press statement earlier this week.
He also confirmed that all DZP permits will be considered null and void from 31 December this year.
What to do when your DZP permits expire
DZP permit holders who would like to remain in South Africa have two options. It's possible for you to apply for routine South African business, study, work, etc. visas - which you have to apply for in Zimbabwe - or you can apply for a Zimbabwe Special Dispensation Permit, yet this permit will only be granted to Zimbabweans currently in South Africa on the old DZP permit.
Unfortunately, no new applications will be considered, and applicants must possess a legal Zimbabwean passport, evidence of employment, company or accredited study as well as a clearance certificate from the South African Police Service.
The ZSP will be valid for three years. At the expiry, all Zimbabweans with ZSP permits will probably have to apply for regular study, work or business visas to continue and will need to return to Zimbabwe to do that.
Applying for a ZSP permit
As of 1 October, there will be a three-month-period to apply for the ZSP.
Based on reports the South African Department of Home Affairs will still be responsible for giving these permits, but you would need to apply for this particular permit online through VFS Global. Applicants will probably be checked and will have to experience interviews.
There are currently eleven VFS offices around the nation and four more offices will open in Gauteng, the Western Cape, the Limpopo and Mapumalanga.
Zimbabwe Special Permit (ZSP) Renewal - On-Line Application Process Explained.
Overview Of The Zimbabwe Special Permit (ZSP) Online Application Process
Create an e-mail address to use with your ZSP Online Application. This will guarantee you get an e-mail confirmation for the successful entry of your VISA application form.
Put together the required advice, in order to very quickly and easily finish your Zimbabwe Special Permit (ZSP) Online application Form.
See the VFS Global Official Site for the Zimbabwe Special Permit (ZSP) Application
Complete and Submit the Zimbabwe Special Permit (ZSP) Online Application Form & Make certain all the information entered into the ZSP Online Application Form is right.
Download your saved Visa Application Form (VAF). You'll need to Print this form and go with it when you go to the VFS Centre for your Appointment. The Form will have all the required files for the Appointment at VFS Global Application Centre.
Pay the Total Application Fee of R 870 into the VFS Standard Bank Account; be sure to use your ZSP Application Reference Number as the Reference when you make the Payment. You are going to want the Proof Of Payment when you go for your appointment at the VFS Centre.
Eventually Phone the VFS Global Call Centre to reserve your appointment to personally see one of our application centers.
NB: Be sure to have your (1) Printed ZSP Application Form, (2) Proof Of Payment for VFS Application Fees, and (3) All the necessary documents as mentioned in your Printed ZSP Application Form.
I have tried to explain this as simply as possible, so that everybody can comprehend and hopefully successfully submit the ZSP Application Online!
Step 1: Create an E-mail Address
In case you currently have a private email address, you may use this for your ZSP application. However, if you don't have an email address, it's essential that you simply produce your own FREE Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail account.
Step 2: Gather all the necessary info to complete your ZSP Online Application Form.
Essentially you are going to require the problem dates and expiry dates of your Passport and DZP Permit, along with a few fundamental private info. See the VFS Global Official Site for the Zimbabwe Special Permit (ZSP) Application via vfsglobal.
Now click the RETRIEVE YOUR LICENSE DETAILS link on your own left-hand side to begin the ZSP on-line program process.
Now put in your Passport Number as suggested previously and click continues. The system will now automatically create a ZSP Reference Number and show the ZSP on-line Application Form.
Make sure you write down your ZSP Application Reference Number as you'll want it to Download Visa Application Form (VAF) and to upgrade your on-line ZSP application form in case something bad happens.
At times, you may find an error message as the one exhibited below shortly after clicking the Submit button.