“Lawyers for Human Rights is concerned about the Cabinet announcement made on the 2nd September that they intend to end the ‘special dispensation’ for Zimbabweans that was announced April 2009,” head of the organisation’s refugee and migrant rights programme Kaajal Ramjathan-Keogh said in a statement.
One of the three policy changes, which were announced as part of the special dispensation, did not take effect.
The first two, a moratorium on deportations to Zimbabwe and a three-month visa free entry into South Africa, came into operation immediately after the dispensation was announced last year.
The third, a special dispensation permit enabling Zimbabweans to remain in South Africa for a defined period of time, never took effect, Ramjathan-Keogh said.
“What Cabinet is actually announcing is an end to the moratorium on deportations and consequently their intention that they will commence mass deportations again.”
He accused the government of not consulting with civil society organisations, neither before implementing the dispensation in April last year, nor before announcing the end of it.
“Home Affairs has justified the resumption of deportations on the grounds of a return to stability in Zimbabwe.
“But the unity government has been on the verge of collapse on several occasions. Elections scheduled for 2011 may not take place because of ongoing conflict between various parties.”
He said the South African government had not provided a mechanism for Zimbabweans to remain in the country legally, but only told them to get documentation.- SAPA