South Africa: Home Affairs extends validity of Zimbabwean permits by another six months

Published: 8/Jun/2023
Source: GroundUp (Cape Town)

Zimbabwean Exemption Permits will now expire in December

By Tariro Washinyira

Zimbabwean Exemption Permits have been extended for a further six months, until 31 December 2023, the Department of Home Affairs announced on Wednesday.

The extension affects about 180,000 permit holders who faced deportation if they cannot find alternative legal permission to live in South Africa.

In November 2021, Cabinet announced it would no longer extend the validity of Zimbabwean Extension Permits (ZEP) which were set to expire in December 2021, but granted a 12-month grace period until December 2022.

This was then extended to June 2023 in order to give people time to apply for other visas to remain in South Africa. It has now been extended by another six months.

Organisations, including the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit Holders Association (ZEPHA), the Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF), and the Zimbabwean Immigration Federation initiated court action against Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi in a bid to overturn the decision to scrap the ZEP. Other groups supporting litigation include the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CORMSA) and the Scalabrini Centre.

In April, the Pretoria High Court reserved judgment on the matter.

On Wednesday Home Affairs stated: “The Minister took into consideration the said factors, including (to a certain extent) submissions received from the affected Zimbabwean nationals, relevant officials of Home Affairs and other interested parties and decided to issue another Immigration Directive, extending the validity of Zimbabwean Exemption Permits for a further period of six months, ending on 31 December 2023.”

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Themes: ID Documents and Passports
Regions: South Africa
Year: 2023