South Africa Unrest! Home Affairs Going to Cancel Zim Permits

South Africa Unrest! Home Affairs Going to Cancel Zim Permits

Jailing of former president Jacob Zuma divided opinion


South Africa Unrest! Home Affairs Going to Cancel Zim Permits told by South African Government official on the condition of anonymity.

sa unrest
South Africa Unrest! Home Affairs Going to Cancel Zim Permits told by South African Government official



'A wake up call': African countries felt shockwave of SA's unrest.


The Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Njabulo Nzuza will assess the damages at the Home Affairs office in Eshowe which was vandalized on Tuesday, 13 July 2021 following unrests in KwaZulu-Natal.

As a result of the acts of vandalism, the office has had to close down. In this regard, Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has instructed the Department to use alternative sites to register deaths to assist grieving families and funeral undertakers as some offices in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal are inaccessible. To this end, Deputy Minister Nzuza will visit the Eshowe Hospital where deaths will be registered as an interim measure.

Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi extends the validity period of different categories of temporary visas

The Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, has extended the validity period of legally issued visas which expired during the lockdown period to 30 September 2021 for short-term visas, issued for a period not longer than 90 days, such as a tourist visa.

The validity period of longer-term temporary visas issued for three months to three years which expired during the lockdown has also been extended until 30 September 2021.

Directions communicating these amendments, in line with the National State of Disaster Regulations, will be gazetted by 30 June 2021.

This means that visas or permits of holders who have not departed South Africa since the announcement of the National State of Disaster in March 2020, and arrived with a valid visitor’s visa between December 2019 and 14 March 2021, are deemed to be valid until the end of September 2021.

Holders of such visas are permitted to remain in the country under the conditions of their visas until the expiry of their applicable extension. Those wishing to be repatriated to their countries within this period can depart without being declared undesirable persons.

The extension does not apply to people who entered the country from 15 March 2021. The normal validity period of visas of people admitted into the country from 15 March 2021 applies.

Holders of longer-term temporary visas, issued for 90 days up to three years, such as study visa, treaty visa, business visa, medical treatment visa, relatives’ visas, general work visa, critical skills work visa, retired person’s visa and exchange visa, which expired during the State of National Disaster are invited to renew their visas online before 30 September 2021. 

Refugee Reception Centres remain closed. The validity of asylum and refugee permits has been extended until 30 September 2021.

Asylum seekers and refugees are encouraged to continue renewing their permits via the online platform. 

As of 25 June 2021, the Department had approved the extension of 9 788 Section 24 (refugee status) and 28 249 Section 22 (asylum seeker permits) since the online extension system was activated in April 2021.

Holders of a visa or permit must adhere to the terms and conditions of their visa and any activity not endorsed onto such visa or permits is prohibited.


'A wake up call': African countries felt shockwave of SA's unrest.

South Africa's neighbours felt the shockwaves of days of unrest and looting, prompting some to rethink their economic reliance on the regional power.

In Namibia, the effect was immediate. In commenting on the country's response to the Covid-19 pandemic, health minister Kalumbi Shangula said the unrest in South Africa threatened Namibia's oxygen supply.

"The oxygen is being procured from South Africa and brought into Namibia by trucks. The current events in South Africa may pose a threat to the seamless supply of oxygen to Namibia," Shangula told The Namibian newspaper.

The unrest also affected burials, with the majority of coffins imported from South Africa.

Namibia was experiencing a third wave of infections, recording an average of 681 cases over the past seven days, according to the World Health Organization.

For President Hage Geingob, it was a wake-up call about Namibia's reliance on South Africa for basic goods.

"We depend on them and have not tried to be independent from them. We are still getting basics, food stuff, like potatoes from South Africa. Small things we can produce ourselves. It is going to teach us that we ought to produce things ourselves," Geingob said during a briefing on Covid-19.

Namibia's minister of industrialization and trade Lucia Iipumbu also raised concerns that disrupted food distribution in South Africa could affect Namibia, which imported 80 percent of products from here.

A lesson on underlying issues

For observers, though, it was a warning about what could happen if Namibia failed to address the same socioeconomic challenges that created fertile ground for South Africa's unrest.

The Namibian newspaper published an editorial warning that the country's stagnant economy, unresolved issues on land and the unequal provision of quality education and healthcare could ignite the same rage and looting.

In Zimbabwe, South Africa's anger could be attributed to unequal land ownership, according to the state-owned daily The Herald.

"Peace, which is increasingly eluding the rainbow nation and other parts of the world, does not come cheap," wrote Political Editor Fungi Kwaramba.

Similarly, the jailing of former president Jacob Zuma divided opinion, seen as "a demonstration of some exaggerated notion of the rule of law", Fungi added, quoting a Zimbabwean academic.

Lesotho's minister of small business and leader of the Basotho National Party Thesele Maseribana, urged South Africa to allow a SADC mission to intervene, for the sake of regional stability and trade.

Last week, Botswana issued a warning to its citizens travelling to South Africa, particularly to Johannesburg and Durban.


Zimbabwean government unsettled by non-renewal of SA permits

As details of South Africa’s recent bilateral talks with Zimbabwe emerge, authorities in Harare are now in panic mode after Pretoria announced plans to suspend the temporary work permits of Zimbabweans who fled their country due to socioeconomic factors.

It is estimated that South Africa is now home to nearly 3 million Zimbabweans who fled the country seeking better economic prospects and political asylum.

Most of them have no proper documentation, according to organizations such as the International Organization for Migration.

Zimbabwe is battling high inflation, high unemployment and political intolerance, among a litany of problems.

Fresh details gathered by The NewsHawks show that South Africa’s International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor last month met Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa and her Zimbabwean counterpart Frederick Shava at State House in Zimbabwe, where the country pleaded with South Africa to delay the deportation of locals whose documentation is invalid.

“With Zanu PF in election mode, the minister [Shava] felt that the move to suspend the temporary permits would affect the governing party’s 2023 election campaign,” a source familiar with the development said.

Mnangagwa, who secured a wafer-thin victory over his rival Nelson Chamisa during the controversial 2018 election, is seeking re-election in two years’ time.

The governing party has already launched its “5 million votes” campaign, which it hopes will assure Mnangagwa of resounding victory.

Sources said should South Africa send back home hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans before the next polls, the Zanu PF government, which has been employing Machiavellian politics to weaken Chamisa’s party, will have to go back to the drawing board to restrategise on its campaign.

Home affairs Insider source told us that Zimbabwean government is not sure what South Africa has up its sleeves, more so in the context of recent diplomatic engagements between the two countries.


George Charamba, the deputy chief secretary in charge of Zimbabwe’s presidential affairs, could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.

In 2017, the South African government announced new regulations for the four-year non-renewable permit for nearly 200 000 Zimbabweans working and studying in South Africa.

The Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) replaced the Zimbabwean Special Permit (ZSP).

The initial special dispensation for Zimbabweans was approved in April 2009 to document Zimbabwean nationals who were in South Africa illegally. The ZSP accepted applications from Zimbabweans with a valid passport, evidence of employment, business or accredited study and a clear criminal record. Successful applicants were granted permits to stay and work, study or run a business in South Africa.

The ZEP permits were issued for a maximum period of four years, beginning on January 1 2018 and expiring on December 31 2021.

Pandor, who has in the past admitted that Zimbabwe needs dialogue to address its multifaceted problems, was last week quoted by South African media as saying Pretoria would want to resume talks with Harare.

“I really would like to put the question that I always put to my colleagues. This will be the first time we are having a formal meeting. He’s the new minister of foreign affairs and I just want to ask him: ‘How can we help Zimbabwe?’” she said.

“In our discussions, we’ll raise the important need for the opposition to be able to function, but this is something we think Zimbabweans must discuss together…”

“We’d also like to send back our three envoys because their visit was incomplete in that they met Zanu PF but didn’t meet external stakeholders. We think it is necessary.”

During the same meeting, the two ministers discussed the African Renaissance Fund project, a R50 million pledge made after Cyclone Idai, that will be used to bolster Zimbabwe’s food security.

Sources told The NewsHawks that Zanu PF hardliners were resisting any dialogue that would include Chamisa.

Mnangagwa, sources said, preferred that any talks be held under the umbrella of the Political Actors Dialogue, which features peripheral opposition parties.

Lindiwe Zulu, chairperson of the ANC’s subcommittee on international affairs, last year told this author in an exclusive interview that the ANC believes there is a crisis in Zimbabwe and liberation movements have to be frank with each other.

Zulu was among ANC officials who were deployed to Harare to engage in bilateral engagements with Zanu PF as political temperatures in that country shot up on the backdrop of a weakening economy.

However, days after the ANC team left for Johannesburg, acting Zanu PF spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa accused Pretoria of meddling in Zimbabwe’s internal affairs.

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa is consolidating his grip on power through constitutional amendments that give him the power to appoint his deputies and top judges, as well as increase the number of nonparliamentary Cabinet ministers.

Mnangagwa, who took over from Robert Mugabe with the assistance of the military in 2017, has just reappointed Chief Justice Luke Malaba, who was due for retirement after reaching the cut-off age of 70.

This, as well as other amendments to Zimbabwe’s Constitution – adopted after a referendum in 2013 – have attracted criticism of Mnangagwa and his administration.

An application to challenge the amendments and Malaba’s reappointment was filed at the high court in Harare this week by the Young Lawyers’ Association of Zimbabwe and liberation war veteran Frederick Mutanda.

The other amendments, which were officially gazetted earlier this month, include the dropping of a clause on running mates and elected vice-presidents.

This was supposed to come into effect in 2023, when Zimbabwe holds its next election.

The new provisions also pave the way for extending nonparliamentary Cabinet appointments from five to seven.

Innocent Chikoromu, a Harare-based political analyst, told City Press on Friday that the amendments were a setback for democracy and the country’s Constitution, which “tried to trim the powers of the president” despite maintaining the executive presidency.

“The consolidation of power for the president has become too much, because the top judges and the chief justice are now at [his] mercy,” said Chikoromu.

“[These amendments aren’t] good for the judicial system of Zimbabwe, as we should have maintained the system of public interviews and age limits at 70. Right now, the serving judges and the chief justice aren’t supposed to benefit from these amendments in terms of the Constitution, but they already have.”

The 2013 Constitution had stipulated the clause on running mates to factor in elected deputies for the president, but this has been removed under the amendments. Mnangagwa will now essentially pick his deputies.

Some senior officials within the ruling Zanu-PF party say Mnangagwa is pre-empting a potential fall-out with his current deputy, the retired General Constantino Chiwenga, who they believe is angling to take over from him.

Chiwenga played a key role in persuading Mugabe to give up power after the 2017 military coup.

At a media briefing on Wednesday, Zimbabwe constitutional law expert Professor Lovemore Madhuku said that “it’s very clear that power is being concentrated not necessarily in the hands of an office”, but in the hands of Mnangagwa.

“It’s all about the personal love of power of Mnangagwa,” said Madhuku. “With amendment number 2, he’s gone far beyond what former president Mugabe was doing in terms of loving power as a person.”

Interestingly, the Movement for Democratic Change – Tsvangirai opposition party, which now excludes Nelson Chamisa and his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance party, supported the passing of the amendments in the legislature.

The party has been criticised for playing politics from Mnangagwa’s corner.

Advocate Fadzayi Mahere, spokesperson for the MDC Alliance, said the amendments were not good for democracy.

“The amendments weaken state institutions that are supposed to check and balance the power of the executive. The continually shrinking democratic space and the continued attacks on the rule of law are very worrying. This is a dark period for Zimbabwe,” she said.


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This is a developing story: We'll give updates on the situation as we learn more.

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