Government has no justification to allow the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) program to continue

In 2021, Motsoaledi announced that the special permit, which was first introduced more than a decade ago, would be terminated. The Pretoria High Court has declared Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi’s decision to terminate the Zimbabwean Exemption Permits (ZEP) unconstitutional and invalid.

The ZEP permit was introduced to provide legal status to Zimbabwean nationals who were living in South Africa. The permit was meant to provide temporary relief and regularization for Zimbabwean nationals.

Human Rights Attorney Carol Lemekwana said, “The separation of powers dictates that whatever decision an administration makes according to the law, which is the Promotion of Administration Justice Act (PAJA), they should communicate with the affected bodies; in this case, the minister made a decision without going to speak to the affected.”

Carol continues to cite that the minister, Motsoaledi, said ZEP permit holders should now apply in terms of mainstream visas using the Immigration Act, which is not probable because, when we look back, the reason why ZEP was introduced was because of political challenges in Zimbabwe.

Build One SA leader Mmusi Maimane says, “The government didn’t have a case to put forward; they didn’t substantiate their evidence, and it’s a poor approach to immigration.

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and the department director-general Tommy Makhode are seeking permission to approach the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) to overturn a previous judgment that declared the termination of the ZEP program unlawful and unconstitutional.

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