THE South African government has resolved to extend work permits for nearly 200 000 Zimbabwe Special Permit (ZSP) holders working in the neighbouring country beyond December 31, media reports have revealed.
Issued in 2014, the permits were scheduled to expire on December 31 this year.
Zimbabweans working in South Africa under the special dispensation have been having sleepless nights after the neighbouring country had earlier indicated it would not renew them.
Zimbabwe’s Consul General in South Africa Mr Batiraishe Mukonoweshuro said the country’s Embassy will meet their South African counterparts to discuss the latest development.
he South African Press yesterday reported that the country’s cabinet approved the extensions under yet to be unveiled conditions.
South Africa’s Minister of Communications Ms Ayanda Dlodlo reportedly told the media that their cabinet has given the green light to the new Home Affairs Minister Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize to start offering work permits to Zimbabweans.
ZIMBABWE’S biggest port of entry, Beitbridge Border Post which borders the country with South Africa, risks being closed next week after workers in the neighbouring country’s Home Affairs Department, including immigration officers gave notice to go on strike and down tools over overtime pay.
The Federation of Unions of South Africa and Public Servants Association served that country’s Department of Home Affairs with a notice to go on strike from 19 June after a stalemate over the issue of overtime pay when the workers work on Saturday.
The employees are demanding payment, instead of days off, for working on Saturdays but South African Government is arguing that it would incur a serious budget shortfall if it were to accede to demands of workers’ unions.
Zimbabwean officials are however, optimistic that the South African Home Affairs Department and its workers will reach an agreement to avert the strike.
If the no movement is effected as stated by the union leaders, it means Beitbridge will be closed for the day posing serious movement problems not only for Zimbabwe but for the rest of the region. Beitbridge handles more than 3 500 vehicles and 9 000 people on average on a daily basis.
SOUTH Africa’s police have arrested 11 Tanzanians who allegedly gang-raped a 22 year-old Zimbabwean woman in South Africa while she was coming from work recently.
Zimbabwe Consul-General in South Africa Mr Batiraishe Mukonoweshuro yesterday said the suspects have since appeared in court following the alleged rape in Johannesburg.
“They have been arrested and taken to court. They appeared in court on May 16 and will appear again on June 20 at the Johannesburg Regional Court,” said Mr Mukonoweshuro. He said it was a relief that the suspects had been arrested.
Mr Mukonoweshuro said the rape victim was left in a traumatic state. “She is still traumatised and we decided to wait a bit for now. At least we are happy that her attackers have been arrested. We will try to give her time and at some point we will re-engage her,” he said.
Names of the suspects were not immediately available.
A 22-YEAR-OLD Zimbabwean woman based in South Africa was allegedly gang raped by 11 Tanzanians while coming from work last week.
The incident occurred in Johannesburg and the Zimbabwean Embassy is investigating the sexual assault. The woman’s identity has been withheld for ethical reasons.
Zimbabwe Consul-General in South Africa Mr Batiraishe Mukonoweshuro said his team was on the ground to establish what really occurred. He said the woman was sexually violated while coming from work.
Mr Mukonoweshuro said the woman was working at a tavern that closes very late at night or in the early morning hours. He said 11 Tanzanians could have ganged on her as she was heading home. The Consul-General could not reveal whether the rapists had been arrested. Mr Mukonoweshuro urged Zimbabweans to be alert while travelling at night saying Johannesburg was a very dangerous city.
“There has always been violence especially in Johannesburg and we urge people to take extra care. Therefore, it is always advisable that people should secure their travel because there are those criminal elements who always want to take advantage of the situation,” said Mr Mukonoweshuro.
South Africa has one of the highest rape case statistics on the continent with reports suggesting that a woman or girl child is sexually violated every 26 seconds
South Africa has deported over 10 000 Zimbabweans since last year, spending R33 million every month on extraditing the illegal immigrants. An estimated two million Zimbabweans are living in South Africa. Mr Mukonoweshuro said the majority of the deportees are over-stayers.
“Those are statistics from last year. Those are over- stayers, that’s what I understand. They are over-stayers from Lindela. This is not a one-time deportation, it’s an annual figure,” said Mr Mukonoweshuro.
About 10 433 Zimbabweans have been deported since last year together with nationals from other neighbouring countries such as Mozambique, Lesotho and Malawi.
South Africa’s department of Home Affairs said the deportations were in line with the Immigration Act which they were implementing in a non-discriminatory manner. Unconfirmed reports say South Africa has tightened its laws with illegal immigrants appearing in court before deportation.
This measure, according to the reports, was put in place to control the number of illegal immigrants who sneaked back into the country soon after deportation.
At least 200 000 Zimbabweans in South Africa face deportation at the expiry of their special dispensation permits on December 31 this year.
ZIMBABWEANS are feared to be among the people who died in a blast that happened at a disused mine in South Africa where 29 bodies have been retrieved while 11 people were rescued.
The accident is suspected to have occurred on Thursday last week at Harmony Gold mine shaft in Welkom, Free State, but was discovered earlier this week.
Zimbabwe Consul-General in South Africa Mr Batiraishe Mukonoweshuro said the suspected illegal miners are said to have forced open the defunct mine using explosives. After several blasts the mine collapsed on them.
He said South African officials have started a rescue mission which has seen several bodies being removed.
South African Transport and Allied Workers` Union (Satawu) boss who is suspected to be a Zimbabwean has been deported after Home Affairs discovered that he was living in the country illegally.
According to media in that country, the general Secretary Mr Zenzo Mahlangu was arrested on Thursday and deported on Friday when the department of Home affairs discovered that he was in possession of a South African identity document that identified him as a South African citizen by birth while he is actually a Zimbabwean.
According to South African media, Home affairs acting spokesperson David Hlabane confirmed the deportation of Mr Mahlangu who is also a member of the African National Congress (ANC) party.
“He was deported on the same day. He chose not to exercise his right to challenge the deportation, but opted to buy his own flight ticket and depart immediately instead of being deported through Lindela Repatriation Centre,” said Mr Hlabane.
South African Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula has backtracked on the comments he made last week concerning ex-Zimbabwean soldiers whom he accused of illegally entering South Africa to rob and kill. The minister claims his statement was taken out of context.
Mbalula raised fears of igniting xenophobic attacks after informing SA journalists that Zimbabwean army deserters were responsible for violent crimes in South Africa.The statements drew widespread condemnation.
But in an about-turn, Mbalula’s spokesperson Mr Vuyo Muhanga told The Sunday Mail last night that the minister’s statements were taken out of context. “The statement was taken completely out of context,” said Mr Muhanga.“When the minister was speaking he was speaking to two specific issues.
“The first being about the crime in an incident involving the five men who were responsible for robbing a jeweller in Johannesburg that happened recently and this was only an isolated incident.
“The other issue he touched on was that of the many educated Zimbabweans we have contributing to South African development, which is one of the attributes the Zimbabwean Government is praised for.
“Basically, it was not a blanket statement and needs to be properly qualified in its proper context.“He was simply referring to one isolated incident.
“We have many Zimbabweans living here in peace whom the minister said are more educated than some South Africans.”Mbalula was widely quoted in the media last week after claiming that “Zimbabweans enter the country illegally and they just come here not to promote goodwill”.
The Democratic Alliance wants to report Police Minister Fikile Mbalula to the SA Human Rights Commission for the comments he made about former Zimbabwean soldiers illegally entering the country to rob and kill.
DA Gauteng leader John Moodey said Mbalula’s comments were a consequence of bad leadership. He said the African National Congress government had forgotten its vision for a united Africa.
“We believe that the comments promote hatred based on the grounds of origin, ethnicity and nationality, and infringe on the dignity of Zimbabwean citizens living and working in South Africa,” Moodey said.
He said Mbalula should stop using blanket xenophobia as a justification for crime in South Africa’s streets and instead focus on securing the country’s borders.
THE Government has engaged South Africa over remarks by its Police Minister Fikile Mbalula alleging that the Zimbabwean ex-soldiers were responsible for violent crimes in the neighbouring country.
In an interview yesterday, Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to South Africa Mr Isaac Moyo said the embassy was shocked by Mr Mbalula’s claims, which he described as baseless and likely to strain bilateral relations between the two countries.
He said the two governments have engaged over the matter, but could not reveal details of the engagement.
“We’ve many structures in our bilateral cooperation arrangements that are specifically there to assist one another and this includes the police and the defence forces. The South African government has not approached us to even tell us about what we saw being flighted in the media,” he said.
“In fact, we got surprised by the inclusion of certain elements in the South African Police Minister’s statements claiming that people in the Zimbabwe National Army don’t retire, and that they are running away from uncle Bob. We think this is casting unnecessary assertions and we know that retirements and resignations in the ZNA are as ordinary and normal as anything.”
Mr Mbalula while addressing the media at the South African Police Services (SAPS) training centre in Pretoria on Tuesday said Zimbabwean ex-soldiers were robbing banks in the neighbouring country.
“There are people who come from Zimbabwe and cross the line here. They run away from the military in Zimbabwe and they come and promote criminality here in South Africa. That is the truth, where should I tell that truth?” Mr Mbalula was quoted as saying.
PRETORIA Members of the Zimbabwe National Army fleeing from the military service in their country are engaging in violent crimes in South Africa, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula said on Tuesday.
“There are people who come here from Zimbabwe, and they cross the line here. They run away from the military in Zimbabwe, and they come here and promote criminality here in South Africa.
"There are Zimbabwean ex-soldiers who are in this country, robbing banks and promoting criminality. They are running away from uncle Bob [Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe] there,” Mbalula told journalists at a media briefing in Pretoria.
“In Zimbabwe once you are a soldier, you are a soldier for life. You can’t get out of it. So to get out of it they run to South Africa, then they come here and rob banks. They are on the payroll of criminals, and we can’t trace them. If a South African steals, it’s easy to trace them because I will find you somewhere in the forensics because I have your fingerprints. I’ve got you all covered, South Africans.”