Kate Wilkinson Ask Africa Check: Zimbabwean Special Dispensation permit

Recently we teamed up with Lawyers for Human Rights to host a live Twitter Q&A session about the new Zimbabwean Special Dispensation permit (ZSP).

What is the Zimbabwean Special Dispensation permit?

The Zimbabwean Special Dispensation permit (ZSP) is the successor to a permit issued as part of the Home Affairs department’s Dispensation of Zimbabweans Project (DZP) which was implemented in April 2009.

The aim of the DZP was to create a record of Zimbabweans who had, until then, been living illegally in South Africa. It was also intended to provide an amnesty to Zimbabweans who had been using fraudulent South African identity documents. Many of the Zimbabweans living in South Africa had fled the political violence, instability and economic crises that had dogged their home country for more than a decade.

Read more about it in our factsheet.

What happens when the current DZP permits expire?

DZP permit holders that would like to remain in South Africa have two choices:

  • If they meet the requirements for a regular study, work or business visas they can apply for them, but they need to do so in Zimbabwe.
  • The second option is to apply for the newly introduced Zimbabwe Special Dispensation Permit (ZSP). Only applicants that are on the DZP database – even if they were denied a DZP permit – may apply for the ZSP.

    How long will it take to process the application?

    time frame

    Do you require police clearance?


    Where can I complete my online application?

    You do not need to pay to complete the online application. You can do it at the Laywers for Human Rights offices in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Durban. If you do not live in these cities you can phone Lawyers for Human Rights and they will complete the application for you over the phone.

    How much does the application cost?

    The cost is the same at every centre across the county. You do not need to pay R1,350 at any centre. Rivonia

    We have started hosting regular Q&A sessions with our followers on topical issues. Our previous #AskAfricaCheck Q&A looked at crime statistics in South Africa. You can see it Storified here.

    Do you have an idea for a Q&A? Email us using [email protected]

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