More than 180,000 Zimbabwean citizens living in South Africa have applied for official documentation to enable them to stay, work, study and carry out their work legally in the country, the Interior Ministry said on Thursday.
"The Department of Internal Affairs is pleased to announce that it has completed the adjournment and printing of 178,172 applications for Zimbabwe Exemption Exemption (ZEP)," spokesman Thabo Makgol said.
Opening applications for ZEP was published in September 2017 after the expiration of the Zimbabwe Special License (ZSP).
"The ZEP aims to regulate the stay of Zimbabwean citizens in South Africa for work, study or legal work," Makgola said.
Of the 180,000 requests, 108,485 licenses were processed and collected, Makgola says.
In the meantime, 39,089 was in the process of collecting or sending to various collection offices, he added.
The Department has called for 1,932 applicants who have expired passports to contact the consulate of Zimbabwe, as their application could not be processed.
While this may be a relief for many, it continues to deny Zimbabwean permanent residences in South Africa.
The department has announced that it has met with the Zimbabwe Consulate, which has committed itself to speeding up the applications of passports for those who applied.
The ZEP came into force in January 2018 and expires in December 2021.