Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
The South African government says it is now geared up for the processing of the new three-year special permits for Zimbabweans (ZSP) wishing to work or study in that country.
South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister Mr Malusi Gigaba announced on Thursday that all the Visa Facilitation Service centres had been activated for the processing of the permits which begins on 1 October.
“On the 12th of August, 2014, I announced the establishment of the Zimbabwean Special Permit (ZSP) of 2014 allowing Zimbabwean holders of this special permit to work, conduct business or study in South Africa for three years, until the end of December 2017.
“As explained then, only the approximately 245 000 holders of the Dispensation for Zimbabweans Project (DZP) are eligible to apply for the ZSP.
“As the Department of Home Affairs will begin accepting applications via the website for the ZSP on October 1, 2014, we would like to take this opportunity to update stakeholders and the public on the implementation of the ZSP.
“In short, the Department is ready,” he said.
He added that the application processing partner VFS, had completed all the necessary preparations to process all prospective applications for the ZSP.
Mr Gigaba said all the 10 ZSP application centres had been secured by VFS.
“These include totally new centres in the provinces of Gauteng (Midrand), Western Cape (Cape Town), Limpopo (Polokwane) and Kwazulu-Natal (Durban).
“The remaining six centres are in George, Port Elizabeth, Kimberley, Bloemfontein, Nelspruit and Rustenburg.
“These six will be operating from the existing visa and permit centres,” said Mr Gigaba.
He said they had 120 dedicated officers to deal with ZSP adjudication.
He said with effect from 1 October the website will be opened to Zimbabweans wishing to apply for the permits online.
The minister said the following website should be used for lodging applications http://www.vfsglobal.com/zsp/southafrica.
“In response to concerns about computer literacy and internet access, we will monitor this closely to see if these become issues, and mitigate accordingly.
We are confident that internet access is sufficiently high in SA.”
He said the application fee for the ZSP had been set at R870.
“We believe this fee is reasonable, when compared with visas and permits of similar duration.
“It is also reasonable, when considering the infrastructure we are setting up to allow applicants to apply here in South Africa, without having to leave the country as would usually be required, with associated travel costs for applicants.”