validity of Zimbabwean Exemption Permits

Latest on validity of Zimbabwean Exemption Permits. Picture: File/Fotor.

LATEST on the validity of Zimbabwean Exemption Permits (ZEPs)

Following its successful challenging in High Court, here’s where the country stands with the validity of Zimbabwean Exemption Permits (ZEPs).

validity of Zimbabwean Exemption Permits

Latest on validity of Zimbabwean Exemption Permits. Picture: File/Fotor.

Following landmark rulings and repeated court procedures, here’s the latest on the validity of Zimbabwean Exemption Permits. Back in September 2021, the South African Minister of Home Affairs terminated the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) scheme.

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For those of you unfamiliar with the validity of Zimbabwean Exemption Permits, ZEP is a scheme that continued on from the Zimbabwean Special Dispensation (ZSP) permit, which allowed qualifying Zimbabweans to remain in South Africa for an extra four years, according to VFS Global.

VALIDITY OF ZIMBABWEAN EXEMPTION PERMITS

validity of Zimbabwean Exemption Permits
There are 178 000 ZEPs currently. Picture: Supplied.

Earlier this year, on 28 June 2023, the Pretoria High Court overturned the controversial decision to terminate ZEPs. The Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) and the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CORMSA) challenged the ruling, according to SA Visas.

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With ZEP termination overturned, this has raised many questions around the current validity of Zimbabwean Exemption Permits. It is believed there are around 178 000 ZEP permit holders still in South Africa.

DECISION CHALLENGED

validity of Zimbabwean Exemption Permits
Ruling was successfully challenged in the Pretoria High Court. Picture: GroundUp.

The South African Department of Home Affairs was challenged on the grounds that they did not comply with the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act (PAJA). Specifically, there was no reasonable opportunity to make representations before taking the decision. This rendered the decision procedurally unfair.

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Accordingly, it was unanimously ruled that the termination of ZEP was “unlawful, unconstitutional, and invalid.”As for the validity of Zimbabwean Exemption Permits, the Pretoria High Court ordered that all ZEPs be automatically extended for one full year pending the Department of Home Affair’s appeal.

VALID TILL MID-2024

validity of Zimbabwean Exemption Permits
Picture: File.

Practically, what that means for the validity of Zimbabwean Exemption Permits, is that ZEPs expiring on 31 December 2021, are now valid until 30 June 2024. ZEP holders may freely travel to and from South Africa and may not be arrested or deported on the basis of holding an expired permit.

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This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as immigration or legal advice. For detailed advice on individual cases, we recommend getting in touch with Lawyers for Human Rights. You can call their immigration hotline on 0800 079 614 or WhatsApp them on +27 817 168791.

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