Operation Dudula says the extension of Zimbabwean exemption permits is a slap in the face of South Africans.
Following a court challenge, the Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi was advised – to extend the application period.
This means that Zimbabwean nationals have until the 30 June next year to apply, but the minister has warned that there will be no further extensions.
Operation Dudula calls the extension a betrayal.
Molekwa said they can’t continue to feel sorry for Zimbabweans.
“Yes we did sympathise with the Zimbabwean people but we can no longer continue looking at the unemployment of South Africans, looking at 46% of South Africans that are on grants.”
Meanwhile, chairperson of the Africa Diaspora Workers’ Network, Janet Munakamwe says the South African government should consider special arrangements for Zimbabweans living and working in South Africa.
Munakamwe says while the extension is welcome news, most Zimbabweans do not qualify for alternative visas.
“This is the most welcome decision of our time, it actually came as a surprise because we have noted that the issue of migration and ZEP have been politicised for a very long time, in such a way that ZEP holders have actually lost hope,” she says.
“We are glad that Home Affairs and the minister have actually come to their senses and considered this particular decision in line with our African principle of Ubuntu.”
Munakamwe says the department should consider making special arrangements for domestic workers, farm workers and low-skilled people.
“The reality on the ground is that the very same holders of the special permits do not qualify for alternative visas,” she says.
“Here I am talking about domestic workers, farm workers, informal traders, and casual workers.”
She adds: “The six months further extension may even be more physiologically challenging because one knows that even by June next year they will still not qualify, so perhaps it is time for the department to consider the most vulnerable working class who are also ZEP holders, in such a way that there are special arrangements.”