ZIMBABWE’s Foreign Affairs minister Frederick Shava has attracted criticism over his failure to consult fellow citizens based in South Africa over their expiring Zimbabwe Exemption Permits (ZEP).
Shava was in South Africa on Wednesday where he discussed migration and the expiring permits with Naledi Pandor, that country’s International Relations minister.
They met at the mid-term review meeting of the third session of the Zimbabwe– South Africa bi-national commission held in Pretoria.
Chairperson of Zimbabwe Community in South Africa (ZCSA) Ngqabutho Mabhena said Shava was also supposed to consult ZEP holders before engaging his South African counterpart.
“How do you even say you are ready to welcome 170 000 people when you cannot take care of the ones already in the country who continue to flock into South Africa?,” Mabhena asked.
This is after Shava said Zimbabwe will welcome back its citizens who fail to get permits to continue residing in the neighbouring country.
“We feel the minister was supposed to also have a briefing with us to hear the concerns of fellow citizens and their challenges on getting the new permits before engaging Pandor,” Mabhena added.
South Africa has said it will not renew the permits when they expire in December.
Zimbabwe migrant workers based in South Africa fear deportations from the neighbouring country when their permits expire.
The permits and visas are reportedly difficult to obtain especially for nonprofessionals owing to the strict regulations.
Zimbabweans however continue trekking to the neighbouring country, a destination of choice for many fleeing political and economic challenges.