SA Constitutional Court dismisses Zim permit appeal South Africa flag waving background

JOHANNESBURG. – The Constitutional Court dismissed an application by the Home Affairs minister for leave to appeal a June 2023 Gauteng High Court ruling that the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) programme had been unlawfully terminated.

The court ordered the minister to meaningfully consult with the 178 000 affected permit holders.

The matter was brought to court by the Helen Suzman Foundation, which argued that the minister had not taken into account the profound impact of the termination of the ZEP programme on those who had been living and working in South Africa, legally, for more than a decade.

The Supreme Court of Appeal previously refused to entertain then home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi’s attempt to appeal the ruling.

The Constitutional Court this week similarly declined to hear arguments in the minister’s appeal.

In a unanimous decision, it simply refused leave to appeal, making no order as to costs.

In a statement this week, the foundation said: “The June 2023 judgment was unequivocal in holding that the minister is obliged to follow a fair consultation process, which duly considers the rights of those affected by terminating the ZEP, before he be lawfully allowed to do so.

“The Constitutional Court’s order affirms with finality that this most basic of legal duties binds the minister, notwithstanding changes in office that may occur once a new government is formed, when deciding the ZEP’s future,” the foundation said.

“It is a vital affirmation – for ZEP holders and South African citizens alike – that principles of fair hearing and rational government are indispensable to our constitutional democracy.” –

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