29 November 2010
Foreign nationals will now only have to wait 48 hours for extensions to their travel, work, study and business permits to be processed by South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs.
This will extend to all permits except intra-company transfer permits, the department’s director-general, Mkuseli Apleni, said in Pretoria last week.
“By granting extensions with the 48 hours, the applicants will be able to travel, work, study and conduct businesses as stated in the initial terms and conditions of the permit they seek to extend,” Apleni said.
Previously, those who were waiting for their permits to be extended were granted a Form 20 while they waited. This effectively legalised their stay in the country but did not allow them to work, study, travel or conduct any business.
With the new directive, the Form 20 has been done away with, Apleni said.
Quality service delivery
Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said she had given the directive as a further demonstration that the government was committed to providing quality service delivery to all citizens and visitors to the country.
The directive also follows closely on measures introduced to centralise the issuing and extension of all permits in order to speed up the processing of applications.
“We are confident that the journey we have embarked on will be a further boost to [the] government’s new growth path to address the pressing matters of job creation, the attraction of scarce skills, and overall socio-economic growth,” Dlamini-Zuma said.
In terms of the regularisation of Zimbabwean nationals, Apleni reiterated that the 31 December deadline would not be extended, and warned that any application received after 31 December would not be processed.
“We assure all Zimbabweans who have met this deadline that they will not risk deportation or any other penalties while their applications are being processed,” Apleni said.
The department has so far received applications from about 70 000 Zimbabwean nationals wanting to regularise their stay in South Africa. Approximately 30 000 of these applications were still being processed.
Apleni said that about 2 000 Zimbabwean nationals had so far been granted amnesty after handing in fraudulent documents.