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Zimbabweans living in SA scramble to get visas as ZEP expiration looms

Many of the estimated 178,000 Zimbabweans who currently reside in South Africa are frantically trying to arrange a visa in order to remain there as they may soon be deported.

The deadline for obtaining authorization to remain in the nation for those who have a Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) is the end of June.

Read: ZEP Holders Want Employment Benefits

The violence and political unrest in Zimbabwe led to the immigration of thousands of people in the early 2000s.

The South African administration, however, countered that circumstances had changed and they had to return to their nation.

But many said they had jobs in South Africa while their children were part of the local schooling system. They also argued that nothing had changed in Zimbabwe.

Spokesperson for the Zimbabwe Community in South Africa Bongani Mkhwanazi said many were using the waiver method to avoid reapplying in certain categories.
“In particular, trying to use the waiver method where they would request that the department must waiver certain requirements, because they would already be employed and earning gainfully.”

But he said the visa website was very problematic.

“The visa website has proven to be very cumbersome. A lot of people are facing difficulties in booking slots, timeouts on the website, and people are kicked out.”

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