Good morning to everyone.
On the 12th of August, 2014, I announced the establishment of the Zimbabwean Special Permit (ZSP) of 2014 allowing Zimbabwean holders of this special permit to work, conduct business or study in South Africa for three years, until the end of December 2017.
As explained then, only the approximately 245 000 holders of the Dispensation for Zimbabweans Project (DZP) are eligible to apply for the ZSP.
As the Department of Home Affairs will begin accepting applications via the website for the ZSP on October 1, 2014, we would like to take this opportunity to update stakeholders and the public on the implementation of the ZSP.
In short, the department is ready.
We, along with our application processing partner VFS, have completed all the necessary preparations to process all prospective applications for the ZSP.
All the 10 ZSP application centres have been secured by VFS.
These include totally new centres in the provinces of Gauteng (Midrand), Western Cape (Cape Town), Limpopo (Polokwane) and Kwazulu-Natal (Durban).
The remaining six centres are in George, Port Elizabeth, Kimberley, Bloemfontein, Nelspruit and Rustenburg.
These six will be operating from the existing visa and permit centres.
Capacity has been set aside within our permitting section to be able to process the applications.
Currently there are 120 dedicated staff members who will be dealing with ZSP adjudication.
From October 1st, Zimbabweans will be able to apply online as per the initial plan.
To this end, a website will be up and running to allow this process to take off.
The website address to be used when lodging applications will be http://www.vfsglobal.com/dha/southafrica/index.html.
In response to concerns about computer literacy and internet access, we will monitor this closely to see if these become issues, and mitigate accordingly.
We are confident that internet access is sufficiently high in SA.
As for applicants knowing how to actually complete their application, we will work with groups of stakeholders such as this one to publicize and demonstrate the correct procedure.
We explained previously that we would announce the application fee, after finalising the costs associated with the administration of the ZSP.
In line with the ‘user pays’ principle, and like the vast majority of countries, we charge applicants for visas and permits for the cost of administering them.
The application fee for the ZSP is set at R870.
We believe this fee is reasonable, when compared with visas and permits of similar duration.
It is also reasonable, when considering the infrastructure we are setting up to allow applicants to apply here in South Africa, without having to leave the country as would usually be required, with associated travel costs for applicants.
On other matters
We would also like to take this opportunity to update South Africans on visa requirements for holders of British Official and Diplomatic Passports. As from the first of September 2014, the department began implementation of visa requirements to British Diplomatic and Official Passport holders.
This was done as a reciprocal measure to the British implementing a visa requirement to South African diplomatic, official and ordinary passport holders.
The department, and government at large, has attempted, over the years, to persuade British authorities to review their visa requirements. At our end, we will continue to engage with our British counterparts to change their stance on this matter. Obviously, on our part, the first is a full exemption for all South African passport holders, but in the least we can start with exempting the Diplomatic and Official Passport holders.
We must emphasise that our requirement to British is limited to Diplomatic and Official Passport-holders. Ordinary British passport holders such as tourists will remain unaffected by this new requirement.
SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICIAL NEWS