When tougher new immigration rules were first announced by the South African government earlier this year they sparked panic and uncertainty among many Zimbabwean expats living and working in the country. Some feared losing their jobs, others believed that it was nothing more than a ploy to force them out.
“It’s like they’re chasing us out, they’re killing us,” a Zimbabwean immigrant told one newspaper.
On 12 August, South Africa’s Home Affairs minister, Malusi Gigaba belatedly tried to ease those fears, announcing that a new permit had been created to re-register Zimbabwean nationals. Perhaps most significantly, they will not have to return to Zimbabwe to apply for it.
Holders of the new Zimbabwean Special Dispensation permit will be eligible to remain in South Africa until the end of 2017.