South Africa’s coming cold war with Zimbabwe

An estimated 250 000 Zimbabweans living in South Africa are at risk of losing their jobs, their bank accounts and of being deported.

05 January 2022 | International

CIARAN RYAN

SOUTH AFRICA

A proposed tax on aircraft flying to and from SA over Zimbabwe is getting serious support in response to Home Affairs’ decision not to renew residence permits for Zimbabweans.

Relations between South Africa and Zimbabwe appear to be deteriorating at an alarming rate following the decision by the Department of Home Affairs not to renew exemption permits for hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans residing in South Africa.

The so-called Zimbabwe Exemption Permits (ZEPs) expired on December 31, leaving an estimated 250 000 Zimbabweans at risk of losing their jobs, their bank accounts and of being deported.

This decision is being challenged in court by the ZEP Holders Association and NGO Amity Africa, which argue that holders of the now expired ZEPs are entitled to be awarded permanent residence status in SA.

Tit for tat

Moneyweb is in possession of a proposal circulated to several Zanu-PF branches advocating the introduction of a ‘Dr Motsoaledi Aviation Bill’ which would impose a pollution levy on all air traffic travelling over Zimbabwe either arriving or departing from SA.

Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, the minister of Home Affairs, is accused of publicly insulting senior members of the Zimbabwean government, including President Emmerson Mnangagwa and several of his ministers.

The public position of the Zimbabwean government is that it respects SA’s decision not to renew the permits, though privately, many Zanu-PF members are fuming, warning of a coming cold war between the two countries.

The funds from the proposed pollution levy would be used to assist the return of ZEP holders to Zimbabwe, as well as compensate truck drivers and Zimbabwean victims of xenophobic violence in SA.

A portion of the funds raised from the levy would be used to plant flora and fauna in areas negatively impacted by air traffic over Zimbabwe.

The proposed aviation bill also envisages providing tax holidays and various other incentives for foreign aviation companies arriving and departing from Zimbabwe.

This would alleviate any financial burden imposed on them by the pollution levy. All levies on aviation companies arriving and departing from Zimbabwe would be reduced.

*This story first appeared on the Moneyweb site.

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