Multi-stakeholder Dialogue on current issues facing migrants in South Africa – 15 March 2022

The Southern African Liaison Office (SALO), in partnership with the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, is hosting a public multi-stakeholder dialogue on current issues facing migrants in South Africa including the Zimbabwe Exemption Permits and rising xenophobic attacks.The Zimbabwean Exemption Permit expired in December 2021, with South African authorities stating that the permit will not be extended – affecting between 182,000 and 250,000 Zimbabweans living in the country. Cabinet announced on the 25th of November 2021 that ZEP holders will be granted a 12-month grace period wherein they “should apply for other permits appropriate to their particular status or situation. Those who are not successful will have to leave South Africa or face deportation.”In recent months, there has been a rise in xenophobic attacks in South Africa. The #PutSouthAfricansFirst and Operation Dudula movements exemplify the growing anti-immigrant sentiment, particularly against Zimbabweans. Some political parties have expressed a similar anti-foreigner stance, with the EFF demanding that businesses disclose how many foreigners they employ and ActionSA’s Herman Mashaba peddling (often false) xenophobic sentiments. It is concerning that these sentiments have become more accepted in South Africa’s political discourse, which fuels the fires of anti-foreigner groups.

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