ZEP permit holders get another 2 years’ lifeline
Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
South Africa’s government has extended the lifeline of the Zimbabwe Exemption Permit (ZEP), some of which were due to expire at the end of the month and June next year.
Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsaoledi said in Pretoria today that under the new arrangement, the ZEP permits would expire on November 29, 2025.
He said approximately 178 000 Zimbabweans were entitled to apply for the new exemption permits subject to a set of conditions.
“I have decided to grant exemptions to approximately 178 000 Zimbabwean nationals for a period of two years in terms of section 31 (2) (b) of the Immigration Act 13 of 2002,” said Dr Motsoaledi.
“The affected Zimbabwean nationals will be entitled to apply for new exemption permits under the following terms and conditions: a holder of the exemption permit will be entitled to work, seek employment and conduct business in the Republic of South Africa.
“In addition, a holder of the exemption permit due to expire on 31 December 2023, or June 2024, and such extended period of validity will be entitled to apply for a new exemption permit”.
The Minister said ZEP holders will also be entitled to stay in South Africa during the validity of the exemption permit and will be issued with Exemption permits that will expire on November 29, 2025.
He added that the beneficiaries of the dispensation will not be entitled to apply for permanent residence.
Dr Motsoaledi said this was in line with sections 25, 26 and 27 of the Immigration Act 13 of 2002 and related provisions in any other law, irrespective of the period of stay in the neighbouring country.
“The Exemption permits will not be renewable and a holder of such a permit will be allowed freedom of movement between Zimbabwe and South Africa or any other country,” said the Minister.
“A holder of the exemption permit cannot change his or her status in the Republic of South Africa as contemplated in section 10 (6) of the Immigration Act 13 of 2002 during the validity of the permit issued.
“When a holder of the exemption due to expire on 31 December 2023 or 28 June 2024 or such extended period apply for a new exemption permit, he or she must disclose and/or register all the minor children born and staying in the Republic of South Africa”
Dr Motsoaledi said he has also issued a directive extending the validity of the exemption permits in respect of the Lesotho nationals to 31 December 2024. @tupeyo