Black First Land First (BLF) commends President Zuma for the decriminalization via legislative measures of Zimbabweans working, studying and living in South Africa (SA). Through the granting of the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) by the Department of Home Affairs, Zimbabweans living in SA will upon application be granted authority to work, stay, conduct businesses and study in the country. There are reportedly in excess of 180,000 Zimbabwean nationals that live in SA.
During his time in power, President Jacob Zuma, had focused much of his attention on strengthening relations with African countries, like Zimbabwe, that played a role in the fight against colonialism.
To this end SA has signed many strategic memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with the Zimbabwean government to secure bilateral relations between the two countries. The MoUs which were at the relevant time concluded between the respective heads of state, namely President Zuma and President Mugabe, include co-operation in the fields of Cross-Border Co-ordination on Frequency Spectrum, Information and Communications Technologies, Energy, Environment and Conservation. In this context the legalization of Zimbabwean nationals living and operating within SA serves to improve political, social and economic relations between the two countries by removing basic impediments constraining bilateral relations. As at 2016 there were about 120 South African entities operating in Zimbabwe in a variety of fields including mining, tourism, aviation, banking, property, retail, fast food and construction.
It is indeed significant that the introduction of the ZEP applications transpired during the tenures in power of President Zuma following the expiry of the Zimbabwean Special Permit (ZSP). President Zuma’s removal from power has stunted the process of Zimbabweans obtaining permanent residency in South Africa.
This is a great stride amongst other efforts involving President Zuma’s initiative towards uniting Africa on a Radical Economic Transformation (RET) ticket. BLF, which is currently the custodian of the President Zuma’s RET agenda, is determined to continue the struggle and is determined to use every means necessary to achieve this end including via parliamentary means.
Issued by the National Coordinating Committee of Black First Land First (BLF NCC)
11 November 2018
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