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Many Zimbabweans with expired South African permits say they are no longer accessing their bank accounts.

According to Ngqabutho Mabhena of the Zimbabwe Community in South Africa, those who are affected were supposed to apply for new special permits by December 31st, 2014.

Mabhena told Studio 7 that most banks are demanding new valid permits from those people who want to access their bank accounts.

There was no comment from the bankers association and South African state officials. Banks normally demand valid identity documents from clients, a move meant to curb fraudulent activities.

Mid last year, South Africa’s Home Affairs Department introduced new permits for Zimbabweans living in that country.

Thousands of Zimbabweans based in South Africa who had come for the holidays started returning to the neighbouring country as early as 27 December, although speculation was rife that South African officials were confiscating South African passports used by Zimbabweans at the border. It was also reported that hundreds of Zimbabweans were using fraudulently acquired documents.

More than 250 000 Zimbabweans were issued with permits in the 2009 Dispensation for Zimbabweans Project, a special dispensation programme to legalise their stay in South Africa.

An estimated three million Zimbabweans are believed to have fled the country, the majority of them to South Africa, at the height of Zimbabwe’s economic and political crises.

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