The focus of today’s briefing is on how, to date, we’ve handled applications, adjudication and issuance of the Zimbabwean Special Permit, to qualifying holders of the old DZP.
For the Department of Home Affairs indeed it was a milestone to have adjudicated 99.7% of the over 200 000 ZSP applications within the first six months of the project – January to July.
Collection of ZSPs will close on 30 September 2015. In this regard a Public Notice had been placed in newspapers, on 12-15 August 2015, by VFS Global, including in The Zimbabwean, Sowetan and Daily Sun.
The cut-off date for receiving ZSP applications was December 2014. Applications were received by VFS Global, and adjudicated by the Department, with 31 July 2015 as our deadline for Departmental adjudication and processing of applications.
The ZSPs are valid until 31 December 2017, after which date they will expire. From 1 January 2018, Zimbabweans would apply for a normal visa which is applicable in the law.
With regard to the application and adjudication process,
- Total number of ZSP applications to be adjudicated was 198,032.
- Total ZSP applications adjudicated is 197,303 – 99.7% of applications.
- Total number of ZSP applications still to be adjudicated is 729
- Number of approved applications is 185,075 – 93.8% of applications.
- Number dispatched by the Department to VFS offices is 161 677.
- Rejected Applications are 12,228 – 6.2% of total applications.
- ZSPs collected at VFS centres are 128,317 – 64.9%.
- ZSPs still to be collected, from VFS centres, are about 26,986.
- The bulk of the remaining work is administrative, involving printing and dispatch of outstanding ZSP certificates to VFS, followed by clients’ collection of decision. The good news is that adjudication is almost complete, leaving us with only 0.3% to adjudicate. The 30th of September 2015 is the target date for completion of outstanding tasks, including collections.
The marginal 0.3% remaining on our adjudication target arises as a consequence of files that do not have supporting documents or electronic attachments that cannot be opened or retrieved. These cases are being addressed individually, and efforts to contact the affected applicants are underway. The rejected cases (12,228) are being reviewed, this month, to ensure integrity of the final decision on the rejection, and to prevent unwarranted appeal applications.
Feedback from Zimbabweans has been very positive with many confirming an improved employment, business and social environment, as well as the ease of financially transacting and receiving medical treatment and other services.
ZSPs are collected from VFS centres, Monday to Saturday, 08H00-17H00. ZSPs not collected on or before 30 September 2015 will be returned to my Department, by VFS Global, which manages ZSP processes and centres for the Department of Home Affairs.
VFS has the milestone of completing the frontline issuance of the ZSP Certificate by 30 September 2015. This process is currently 65% complete and the residual volumes are expected to be managed within the remaining time. Those applicants who have not collected their permits are urged to do so, for these permits to remain valid, after the closing date of 30 September 2015.
On the whole, the modernisation of our systems is bearing fruit. With VFS we have improved on efficiencies and service quality as we advance towards a digital, paperless Department. We offered better queue management – people spent at most 25 minutes at the offices.
Innovations we’re making as well as improvements to levels of professionalism within the public sector are intended to ensure effective, secured management of the immigration and asylum system, as well as promoting a zero-tolerance for corruption.
We have emerged out of the ZSP process even the more wiser, knowing what systems and processes work the better to curb corruption and violations of the permitting system.
The ZSP process had ensured, since inception, in 2009, some degree of reduced pressure on the asylum system with Zimbabweans stay in the country regulated by way of these special permits.
For us finding a viable option effectively to deal with ‘economic migrants’ will go a long way in enhancing South Africa’s management of international migration, in the national interest, and in keeping with the dictates of international law.
It is this consideration informing further the ensuing review of our international migration policy. What SA needs is a modern, progressive and robust policy on international migration which will take into account the enormous current and potential contribution of immigrants to our society, and our connectedness with the rest of the world, while minimizing associated risks and protecting our national interests.
I thank you.