At least 200 000 Zimbabweans in South Africa face deportation at the expiry of their special dispensation permits on December 31.
The figure is a far cry from the alleged 3 million touted by Zimbabwean opposition political parties as the number of Zimbabweans resident in South Africa as they seek to cast aspersions on Government.
South African Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba was quoted in the South African media last week, saying the special permit arrangement could not continue forever.
He said some Zimbabweans might be forced to regularise their stay in that country or apply for visas like other foreigners.
“We cannot offer permanent residency for such a high number of people,” said Minister Gigaba.
Minister Gigaba said there were 197 000 people on the special permit arrangement, adding that he would make an announcement on the ZSP before the end of this month.
He urged Zimbabweans to take full advantage of other visas provided by South Africa.
Minister Gigaba said his government was considering setting quotas on the number of foreigners interested in working or running businesses in South Africa.