Home Affairs Minister Defends Zimbabwean Permit Termination

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In November 2021, the Minister of Home Affairs announced that the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) will be terminated. The implications of this decision are set to impact more than 100 000 Zimbabwean citizens living in South Africa. 


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The ZEP special dispensation was announced in 2009 and allowed Zimbabweans to live, work and study in South Africa. However, the announcement last year by Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi could require many of the permit holders to leave South Africa by 31 December 2022.

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has called the legal action by the NGOs disturbing and says that they are using the courts to undermine decisions made by the government.

He explained that ZEP holders will still be able to apply for alternative permits which will allow them to remain in South Africa. The government's decision to terminate the permit is to reportedly regularise immigration in South Africa.

Motsoaledi said, “There are many people who are in South Africa who have applied for alternative permits in terms of the Immigration Act. This [ZEP] was a special one, very special and temporary”.  

The Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) filed for legal proceedings against the decision by Home Affairs as they believe it was made without a fair process.

“Our position is that those who have scrupulously observed South Africa’s laws in order to live and work here under the ZEP cannot have such permits terminated without fair process, good reason and a meaningful opportunity to regularise their status” explained the HSF.

 

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