from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) – ZIMBABWE is concerned at the impact the non-renewal of work permits for Zimbabweans in South Africa would have on truck drivers.
This apprehension follows confirmation by the South African government that the Zimbabwe Exemption Permit (ZEP) programme would not be renewed when it lapses on December 31.
Thousands of Zimbabwean nationals will then be afforded a grace period of 12 months to regularize their stay in the neighbouring country.
Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development noted this was the latest setback for drivers, who in recent years had fallen victims to “violent gangs” in South Africa, who often stopped foreign drivers.
“In many of these instances, your esteemed office has been of great assistance and we sincerely appreciate your support,” wrote Thedius Chinyanga, Secretary in the ministry.
The letter was addressed to James Manzou, the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
Chinyanga sought the intervention of Manzou on the matter.
“Therefore, we kindly request your intervention and use the diplomatic channels at your disposal to avert a potentially volatile situation,” Chinyanga stated.
He believes the decision by South Africa is an affront to bilateral and regional protocols on cross-border road transport.
These protocols are to facilitate the smooth flow of cross-border traffic and promote trade within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) blocs.
“It is also important to note that truck drivers are also key drivers of our economies within SADC, therefore must be treated with dignity and protected by every country in the region,” Chinyanga added.
– CAJ News