The new deadline on booking appointments for permit renewals now set to be the 28th February 2015 indeed comes as some sort of a huge relief to many distressed Zimbabweans in SA.

Our greatest gratitude is the fact that some of our complaints, suggestions and recommendations are taken into serious consideration as a matter of urgency by the Department of Home Affairs (South Africa) through its outsourcing company VFS Global, which is in itself appreciated by the Zimbabwe's Independent Democrats through its ZIM-ID (SA) Team Diaspora in association with ZSP Permits Forum.

It had become seemingly obvious that the previous deadline for such appointments of 31st December 2014 was too soon and in a way not feasible. The completion of appointments bookings and subsequent fulfilment of the given date is such a demanding contact process that could not in any way be classified in the same level with an online application process that can be done any time of the day or night.

Although about 42% (101 786 out of the estimated 245 000) online applications have been confirmed as received by the 19th October 2014, we can safely say that from the frustrations with call centre congestion and extremely long waiting times over the phone it can be easily estimated that not more than 20 000 have their appointments confirmed as of the same date. However, eligible Zimbabweans as applicants are reminded that the online applications process remains unchanged and it is still set on the 31st December 2014!

We shall continue to actively engage for the smooth running of this process in order to optimally reduce the stress levels associated with this equally demanding dispensation that may exert unnecessary pressure points to fellow Zimbabweans due to short deadlines. This is such a new approach to Immigration which is more experimental than being "tried and tested" in the SA Immigration Systems, hence it requires more time to be familiar with its systems and procedures by Zimbabweans as well.  

By the time a similar process is adopted and implemented in our country of Zimbabwe, at least a sizable number of the citizens will be experienced enough to use such a system with very little problems to manoeuvre. We continue to wish our fellow Zimbabweans all the best in completing successful applications. Those who still need any further assistance on any matters pertaining to this specific project or more can feel free to engage the ZSP Permits Forum and ZIM-ID (SA) Team Diaspora at their earliest convenience.

This publication is released by ZIM-ID (SA) Team Diaspora working in close association with ZSP Permits Forum. We can be contacted on zim.id263@gmail.com or on the following numbers +27 71 210 9685/ +27 73 812 5463 / +27 78 145 8776.

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