JOHANNESBURG – South African government’s Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has extended the Zimbabwean Exemption Permits for a further six months.
Johannesburg – Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has extended the Zimbabwean Exemption Permits for a further six months.
The Zimbabwean Exemption Permits were to expire at the end of the year.
In a statement late on Friday night, Home Affairs announced that it had extended the ZEP from December 31, 2022 to June 30, 2023.
Home Affairs spokesperson Siya Qoza said the department had appointed the Departmental Advisory Committee led by Dr Cassius Lubisi to assess the visa applications lodged by the affected Zimbabwean nationals.
It also sought legal advice to handle court challenges relating to the decision not to extend the exemptions granted to the Zimbabwean nationals.
“The Minister of Home Affairs received a progress report from Dr Lubisi. The report states that the DAC has met on several occasions in order to execute its mandate, and their last meeting was held for the whole day on the 1st of September 2022.
“The DAC recommended to the Minister that in view of the progress thus far, it will be prudent for the Minister to consider extending the period within which the affected Zimbabwean nationals will have an opportunity to apply for visas and / or waivers for a further six months.
“The Minister has carefully considered the request and decided to extend the period by a further six months, that is, 31 December 2022 to 30 June 2023,” said Qoza.
Home Affairs said it was also extending the ZEP for a further six months as only a few Zimbabwean nationals had so far applied for visas.
“The Minister is committed to affording the affected Zimbabwean nationals another opportunity to apply for one or other visas and / or waivers provided for in the Immigration Act.
“The Directive containing the decision of the Minister will be communicated through diplomatic channels to the Zimbabwean Ambassador in South Africa,” said Qoza.
Home Affairs has called on affected Zimbabwean nationals to make use of the six months window of opportunity and not wait for the last moment to lodge their applications as is the case now.
“There will be no further extension granted by the Minister,” said Qoza.
Last month, IOL reported that Zimbabwe’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Frederick Shava, was ready to welcome back its citizens who have lived in South Africa under ZEP.
“The ZEP will expire at the end of this year. Its expiry is naturally causing much anxiety to the holders of this permit,” Shava said in his opening remarks while co-chairing the mid-term review of the Bi-National Commission (BNC) with International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor.
“Our two governments must work closely in the implementation of this decision. We are ready to receive our nationals back home,” he said.