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The Zimbabwean government which in the past engaged South Africa, has been shocked to hear about the supposed deportations of its 40,000 citizens resident in the neighbouring country.

South Africa had given Zimbabweans in that country up to December 31, 2014 to apply for special permits but some Zimbabweans reportedly faced difficulties with renewing their permits as they failed to get through the call centre and online services.

The special permit legalising the Zimbabweans' stay in South Africa was introduced in 2009 and Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi had been in constant engagement with his South African counterpart, Malusi Gigaba over the issue.

"I cannot comment on the deportations now because I have not yet received any official communication from the South African parent ministry," Mohadi said yesterday. The minister said it was news to him as he has not been briefed over the said imminent deportations.

Almost a quarter of a million Zimbabweans applied when the process was first introduced and by December 31, the South Africa Home Affairs had received 207 802 applications.

Estimates are that there are between two and three million Zimbabweans living and working in South Africa.

The Department of Home Affairs announced on December 31, that the Zimbabwean Special Permit application had been closed.

"In line with the announcement made by minister Malusi Gigaba on  August 12, 2014, the closure of the Zimbabwe Special Permit (ZSP) application process also marks the expiry date of the old Dispensation for Zimbabwean Project."

South Africa said it had put effort to make sure the eligible applicants got high levels of service delivery.

"Upon announcing the ZSP, we also brought on board Visa Facilitation Service (VFS) as a partner and established ten ZSP centers to facilitate this process as part of expanding our footprint in pursuance of heightened levels of service delivery.

"We wish to announce that as of Tuesday, 30 December 2014, 207 802 applications had been received while 198 840 appointments had been booked through VFS," the office said in a statement.








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