By Leopold Munhende
THE government has urged Zimbabweans living in neighbouring South Africa to adhere to that country’s administration’s decisions of not extending their Zimbabwe Exemption Permits (ZEP) beyond 2022.
In a statement Wednesday, the Zimbabwean ambassador to South Africa, said it will assist in implementing the process.
Last week South Africa announced a cabinet decision to suspend the special permits that had kept millions of Zimbabweans across the Limpopo legally.
The permits, which were supposed to expire on 31 December this year, were extended by an extra year and Zimbabweans are expected to leave South Africa or face deportation.
“The Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe takes note of this decision by the Government of the Republic of South Africa, a close neighbour with which Zimbabwe enjoys excellent relations,” reads the statement.
“The Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe urges and encourages all its nationals, beneficiaries of the special dispensation, to comply with this decision and to cooperate in its implementation.
“The Embassy of Zimbabwe has initiated engagements and consultations with the relevant authorities of the Government of South Africa with a view to ensuring the timely dissemination of information and the smooth implementation of this decision which will impact the lives and livelihoods of thousands of individuals and households.
“It is the Embassy’s expectation that this decision will be implemented with the minimum of disruption to the lives and livelihoods of the affected individuals and their families.”
South Africa’s decision is a culmination of heavy rioting, protests and petitions by a section of its citizens who have called for the unconditional flushing out of foreigners whom they blame for a rise in crime rate and increase drug abuse.
They have over the years blamed them for taking all their employment opportunities.