Wednesday afternoon is the deadline for any Zimbabweans in South Africa wanting to apply for a permit to stay in the country legally, the home affairs department said.
“The closure of the Zimbabwean special permit application process [is] by end of business today, 31 December,” the department said in a statement.
As of Tuesday, 207,802 applications had been received, while 198,840 appointments had been booked through VFS, a private company to which home affairs had outsourced certain visa and permit processes.
A total of 245,000 Zimbabweans living in South Africa were eligible to apply for the new permit.
The department said that besides the close of applications for Zimbabwean special permits, permits issued under an older system, the Dispensation for Zimbabwean Project (ZSP) also expired on Wednesday — no matter their original expiry date.
Last month, the department announced it would allow people with the expired older permits to still use these documents to travel in and out of South Africa during the festive season until December 31.
Zimbabweans in the country illegally were granted an opportunity from 2009 to legalise their stay via the permit, due to the political and socio-economic conditions in that country.
Previously, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said all the new permits should be issued by the end of April next year. They would be valid until the end of 2017.
A similar permit process for the Basotho, Mozambicans, and other Southern African Development Community nationals is expected to be implemented in future. SAPA