Zim to continue engaging SA over permits

by | Jan 5, 2022 | International, Politics | 0 comments


• Zim embassy to SA promises to respect host`s sovereignty

Hosia Mviringi

The Zimbabwean Embassy in South Africa says it will continue engaging with the South African government on the permits debacle, but they are willing to respect the final decision taken by Pretoria.

In a statement, the embassy distanced itself from charged statements which some members of the Zimbabwean community in South Africa have been releasing.

“The embassy wishes to inform that a meeting that took place on 23 December 2021 was between the Ambassador and some ZEP leaders as part of the Embassy’s engagement with holders of the ZEP.

That meeting was solely confined to ZEP-related issues and aspects and nothing else. The meeting was non-partisan,” read the statement.

The Embassy called on Zimbabweans in South Africa to refrain from writing confrontational statements and letters as it does not help the situation.

“The Embassy is deeply concerned with the contents and tone of the statement which is diametrically opposite to the maintenance and strengthening of excellent bilateral relations between Zimbabwe and South Africa,” the statement further said.

Advocate Simba Chitando, a Zimbabwean citizen based in Sandton, had earlier issued a statement which alleged that they had convened a meeting involving leaders from the ZANU PF Sandton Branch and that resolutions were passed to pressure ZANU PF to consider retaliatory measures to force the South African government to reconsider its stance on Zimbabwe Exemption Permits which expired on the 31st of December 2021.

Advocate Simba Chitando, in the controversial statement that almost torched a diplomatic storm, advocated for what he termed the ‘Motsoledi Aviation Bill’ which would among other things bar or impose heavy over flight fees to any and all aircraft heading to or emanating from South Africa.

The Zimbabwean Embassy however, reaffirmed the Zimbabwean government’s commitment to uphold and respect the right of the South African government to exercise their sovereign rights in accordance with their national laws.

ZANU PF South Africa District has called Advocate Chitando to order, saying his statement does not represent the views and position of the greater ZANU PF South Africa District fraternity.

“ZANU PF South Africa District is deeply concerned with the contents of the statement by Advocate Simba Chitando’s office and wishes to inform members of the public that the individuals that attended the meeting with the Ambassador did so in their individual capacity as ZEP holders, not as ZANU PF members including Advocate Simba Chitando,” said the statement from the ruling party.

The party`s leadership in South Africa further said that ZANU PF as a revolutionary party enjoys cordial relations with its sister party the African National Congress(ANC) and according to tradition they discuss matters objectively but never launch tirades.

The Party reaffirmed that any information concerning the formal position by the revolutionary party’s South African District can and will only be communicated through the office of the Secretary for Information and Publicity.

South Africa, in December last year, reached a decision not to renew the Zimbabwe Exempt Permits to Zimbabweans who have been working in that country upon their expiry on December 31, 2021.

South Africa, upon request by the Zimbabwean government, in 2008 introduced the five-year Special Dispensation permits, which were extended by another five years up until 2017 when the same was replaced by the Zimbabwe Exemption Permits (ZEP).

Pretoria however, resolved to grant a twelve-month reprieve to ZEP holders during which period they are required to regularise their stay through normal channels.

This requirement has placed a dilemma on the affected citizens most of whom had spent the better part of their working lives in that country which they now called home.

It is envisaged that during the twelve-month grace period no ZEP holder will be reported or victimised over expired permits.

Affected permit holders have accused the South African government of acting outside the spirit upon which the permits were issued, which was premised on engagement and consultation.


The South African government is also accused of acting under pressure from Zimbabwean anti-state opposition activists such as Hopewell Chin’ono who have been on a crusade to tarnish the image if the country while putting pressure on foreign governments to turn up pressure on the government of Zimbabwe by chucking out its citizens.

The opposition activists assume that forced repatriation of Zimbabweans will in turn encourage them to vote against ZANU PF in the 2023 harmonised elections.