It was announced yesterday (Monday) by South Africa Home Affairs minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, that Zimbabwe citizens can now travel to South Africa and obtain a free 90-day visitor’s permit and apply to do casual work during their stay. The new regulations came into effect May 1, but Mapisa-Nqakula acknowledged bureaucratic hurdles could slow implementation.
South African officials have been overwhelmed by Zimbabweans, who apply for asylum at a rate of more than 8,000 a day, and they believe many will now opt for the visitor’s permit. Most asylum seekers are denied because South African officials believe most Zimbabweans are not fleeing out of fear or persecution, but to find work as their economy collapses.
This decision is going to cause a lot of controversy, I am sure of that. Not too long ago, we had a serious problem of xenophobia in South Africa with a driving reason behind it being that there are too many foreigners in South Africa who are taking jobs away from the South Africans. Now with this ruling, there will be even more Zimbabweans coming into South Africa. It will not surprise me at all if we see another wave of xenophobia attacks caused by this visa ruling. Watch this space.