Thousands of Zimbabwe special permit holders are breathing a sigh of relief after the department of home affairs on Monday withdrew its controversial directive, which could have seen them lose access to services such as banking and possibly be prevented from returning to SA after the holidays.

Facing pressure from lobby groups and legal action, the department withdrew a directive that suggested that permit holders who could not provide proof that they had applied for "mainstream" alternatives such as work or business permits by December 31 would have their employment contracts, banking services and student registrations suspended...

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