South Africans are set to march against Zimbabwean permit renewals on 24 November, as many do not want to see the Zimbabwe Exemption Permit (ZEP) being renewed, citing the high unemployment rate in South Africa.
March convenor and activist Tshidiso Rantsa said the #NoToZimWorkPermits and #PutSouthAfricansFirst campaigns were not xenophobic acts towards foreigners but a cry to the SA government to prioritise its citizens.
“What kind of country issues work permits to thousands of foreign nationals when more than 75% of its youth are sitting at home without jobs? When we try and say something, we are labelled xenophobic for putting ourselves first,” Rantsa said.
This planned protests come after the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit Holders Association’s Simba Chitando said more than 250,000 Zimbabweans had asked the high court to declare them permanent SA residents, following the expiry of their ZEPs.
“The applicants seek the rights of permanent residency, without a date of expiration, because they have been permanently residing in the country for over 10 years. The ZEP permit, in its current form, deprives the holder of the rights of a person permanently resident in the country. The ZEP, as it is, exploits Zimbabwean labour, it is effectively a slave permit,” he said.
Patriotic Alliance leader Gayton McKenzie said on Newzroom Afrika on Wednesday that locals at grassroots levels were growing restless with the situation. “People on the ground are angry with the influx of foreigners. If I was the president, I would go after the illegal foreigners and then the legal ones,” said McKenzie.
During an EFF presser on Tuesday, Malema said he was prepared to lose votes if it need be but he would never turn his back on Africans to “please the white minority”.
“The EFF can do internal research to see how much this thing is hurting us, but I am not prepared to take a platform to say ‘foreigners must go’,” said Malema.