The South African government says it will not oppose a court application by representatives of children of Zimbabwe Exemption Permit (ZEP) holders who are in school.
Some schools in South Africa were preventing the learners from registering due to the uncertain legal status of their parents.
Last week, the ZEP Holders Association (ZEPHA) filed an urgent application in the Pretoria High Court claiming that children of ZEP holders, who had grown up and attended school in SA, were being denied registration at a number of schools in SA.
Cited as respondents were the ministers and departments of basic education and home affairs, as well as Rand Park High School in Johannesburg, one of several schools that has reportedly refused registration to children of ZEP holders. Said ZEPHA in a statement:
After an exchange of correspondence with the schools and the government, it became apparent that the affected children cannot acquire a study permit, which is a requirement for registration, because their parents are ZEP holders, and the ZEP was terminated on 31 December 2021.
The state attorney informed ZEPHA’s legal team on Friday that it would not oppose the urgent application, and had instructed Rand Park High School to enroll one of the students denied registration.
The state attorney asked that the matter be removed from the court roll, but ZEPHA has refused.
ZEPHA said it wants the court to make an order that provides blanket protection for all affected students.
Advocate Simba Chitando, who is representing ZEPHA in this case, said:
We’re obviously happy that the government has wisely decided not to oppose this application in court.
Our instructions are to proceed for an order of court that will assist all affected ZEP children, and not just a few.
Unfortunately, there is widespread xenophobia in South Africa, even in the administrative bodies of academic institutions, coupled with confusion as to the legality of registering students without a study permit, for no fault on the part of the affected children, which is a matter that can only be resolved for the benefit of the public by a binding court order.
The decision by the SA government not to oppose the urgent application is seen as a major victory for the rights of ZEP holders in SA. | Moneyweb
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