SA, Zim to meet on residence permits

Some Zimbabweans fear job losses if they have to go back home to get new permits.

The Zimbabwean flag.

HARARE - State media in Zimbabwe are reporting that top South African and Zimbabwe officials are to meet to discuss the fate of 250,000 legal-resident Zimbabweans whose permits expire soon.

The permits were issued in 2010, but fears that Pretoria will insist that Zimbabweans have to go back home to reapply for new ones are fuelling panic.

Some Zimbabweans in South Africa say they will lose their jobs if they have to go back home to get new permits.

Pretoria's offer of permanent residence to some successful applicants has done little to allay fears of a mass deportation.

There are hundreds of thousands of locals who depend on remittances from South African-based workers.

In fact, Zimbabwe's Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi has had to intervene, telling Zimbabweans not to panic, calling this a very small matter.

Mohadi told the Sunday Mail he would be meeting with South African officials very soon and that Zimbabwe had no plans to repatriate anyone.