Oct 4, 2022

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Challenge to government’s move on Zimbabweans living legally in SA

A legal appeal is pending against the Home Office’s decision to end the permit system that allows Zimbabweans to live legally in South Africa.

Nicole Fritz, CEO of the Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF), says this The Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) has been in place for well over a decade, meaning permit holders have built lives, families and careers and contributed to the economy of South Africa.

The announcement of the ZEP termination in November, which affects approximately 178,000 Zimbabweans working and studying in South Africa, arrived without notification and without any public consultation.

“Currently, ZEP holders must have obtained other forms of residency – an almost impossible requirement in most cases – by December 31 or leave South Africa,” the foundation said.

“They are faced with a desperate choice: to remain in South Africa as undocumented migrants, with all the vulnerabilities time associated with such status, or to return to a Zimbabwe that is, in all respects, unchanged from the country they fled.”

The foundation added that during that time thousands born to children of ZEP holders in South Africa who have never visited their parents’ country of origin.

“It is not the position of the HSF that those migrants illegally staying in SA should be eligible , nor that the ZEP must be permanent.

“Rather, our position is that those who have have faithfully followed SA laws to live and work here under the ZEP , such permits cannot be revoked without due process, good cause and a meaningful opportunity to settle their status.

“This is what our constitutional order requires.”

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