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South Africa: Home Affairs In Huge Court Victory In Zimbabwe Exemption Permit (ZEP) Case

South Africa’s Home Affairs have welcomed the withdrawal of an application to challenge a controversial ZEP policy being pursued by the ministry.

On Friday, it was confirmed that a legal attempt to stop the deportation of over 178 000 Zimbabweans had fallen flat, giving Minister Aaron Motsoaledi a huge boost. Reads the statement issued by Home Affairs:

The Department of Home Affairs welcomes the withdrawal of the application filed in court by African Amity NPC and Zimbabwe Permit Holders Association under case no. 51735/21 on 14 June 2022.

The matter involved the challenge in court of the decision of the Minister of Home Affairs not to extend the exemptions granted to Zimbabweans. Sense seems to have prevailed – and the department’s doors are always open for constructive engagement with Zimbabwean nationals.

What is the ZEP? 

The Zimbabwe Exemption Permit (ZEP) was given to tens of thousands of Zimbabweans who fled the country over a decade ago.

They were welcomed in under the special ZEP route. However, Aaron Motsoaledi is determined on repealing this permit and wants all Zimbabweans on these visas to reapply for residency through Home Affairs. 

Protests and criticism have been rife since the policy was announced earlier this year. Zimbabweans were given a grace period of 12 months to get their paperwork in order. Otherwise, by the start of 2023, they could be deported for remaining in Mzansi illegally.

Zimbabweans On ZEP Visa ‘Face Deportation’

While there are likely to be more barriers for Motsoaledi and Home Affairs, another obstacle has been cleared, and the department will continue to try and enforce a policy that is rooted in hostility.

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