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Zimbabwean Who Do Not Apply for Permits Are Being Threatened by South Africa’s Government

The repercussions for Zimbabwean nationals whose exemption permits (ZEPs) have expired and who do not apply for legal status in South Africa would be severe.

At a parliamentary briefing on Tuesday, where he updated lawmakers on the status of the ZEP process, Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi issued this warning.

Their government isn’t responsible for this; the buck stops with them. The same treatment will be given to them as would be given to an overstaying foreign national. “There are consequences for that,” he warned.
Motsoaledi told legislators he couldn’t provide any further information because the case is now pending in court.

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He stated that in December 2021, he issued a directive informing the public of his decision to grant Zimbabwean nationals a 12-month extension of their exemptions so that they might apply for a visa under the Immigration Act.

According to Motsoaledi, the 178,000 individuals who now hold a ZEP are exempt from the standard immigration procedures since they are in possession of a special dispensation.

Having given people a year to apply for the other permits, “we decided it was time we terminate something we saw as temporary.”

In order to give the directive the force of law, Motsoaledi gazetted it on January 7. That same day, the department released press statement to explain to the public, the media, and the exemption holders what the government was doing and the reasoning behind the decision.


Motsoaledi said he appointed former presidency director-general Dr. Caisus Lubisi to lead team of data analysts, ex-Scorpions, and state capture investigation investigators because of the enormous scope of the task at hand.


“We are expecting two applications from Zimbabweans: one for visa in accordance with the Immigration Act, and another for waiver, in which the applicant explains their unique situation and asks for an exemption from the law.


“We recognized that the task required expertise due to the unique nature of the dispensation, so appointed team of six, comprising three officials who were handling the examination of permissions and three senior councils from the private sector.


So that everyone is on the same page and working to the same standards, they have had multiple meetings to discuss the project’s specifics.


According to Motsoaledi, the team wrote to him on September to advise him that they had received 4,000 visa applications and 6,000 for the waiver, and that they had devised strategy on how the job was going to be carried out.


There is no chance they will be ready by December 2022, so they have recommended that grant them six-month extension until June 30th, 2023, to account for what is still to come and the amount of labor involved.


took their suggestion the next day and put out the order from September 2nd. 
have issued the same order today as did on December 29, 2021. 
had to put out another copy to make sure there would be no legal ambiguity.


Motsoaledi said MPs that organizations and forums representing ZEP holders had taken the department to court over the permits, highlighting the legal challenges facing the department.


The order issued on December 292021, is at the heart of the lawsuit. 
The African Amity and Zimbabwean Permit Holders Association is the first. 
The Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa, the Helen Suzman Foundation, and the Zimbabwean Diaspora Association NPC are all involved. 
“We also have the Zimbabwe Immigration Federation.”


According to him, the trial will take place in October.


We are not trying to avoid this legal process. 
In light of this prolongation, we’ve contacted the Pretoria high court by letter. 
There are documents we need to submit, affidavits we need to draft, and we don’t think the agreed upon dates will work out.


In his words, the government is not actively trying to harm Zimbabweans.


am aware of the claims that we are solely going after Zimbabweans; however, the Basotho permit will expire at the end of December 2023. 
Permission to work in Zimbabwe ended in December of 2021. 
This is because their releases occurred at various points in history.


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