SA university makes case for Zimbos to stay permanently


Phillipa Jaja

Latest study by the Centre for Sociological Research and Practice at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) has revealed the dire consequences of the termination of the Zimbabwe Exemption Permit (ZEP) for South Africa and the broader region.

Astounding facts show that 178 000 permit holders and their families would either have to apply for alternative visas based on an impossibly narrow “critical skills list” or face deportation, the South African Media has revealed.

The dire consequence of the whole issue is the bleak economy situation such Zimbabweans would face
upon going home.

This revelation sheds light on the need for a critical introspection into the ensuing human catastrophe
arising from such actions as they will result in a failure to curb migration.

Entitled “Neither a Beggar Nor a Thief,” the report asserts that the decision affects South Africans too.

“Dislocating ZEP holders will negatively affect South Africans too.
“For example, local producers and retailers will lose revenue if there are fewer people buying goods in SA to send back to Zimbabwe, and that could affect jobs.

“There’s also rental income and the like that will be lost. The SA economy has been enjoying (the) skills of people who were educated at little or no cost to this economy,” reports Moneyweb, a South African publication.

The paper explains on the uncertainty that characterised ZEP holders’ waiting to apply for permits at the Department of Home Affairs.

It expounds on the South African government’s non commitment towards addressing xenophobia which the holders identify as having spiked in recent years highlighting that the Zimbabwean government is to blame for its complicity in the issue.

The permit was introduced in 2009 and extended several times as a way of regularising the status of Zimbabweans fleeing to SA for political or economic reasons.

It allows permit holders to live, work and study in SA.

The report notes that it has been used to marginalise Zimbabweans by denying them permanent residence.

“Because of constantly changing special permits with special limitations, today they are still perched on a crumbling permit edge,” it says

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