SA Extends Zimbabwe Exemption Permits for a Further Six Months
Brian Rungano Temba
The South African government has extended the Zimbabwe Exemption Permits validity for more than 180,000 Zimbabweans for a further six months to December 31, 2023, after previously extending them to the end of this month.
Despite measures put in place by the government for their smooth return, the latest development will allow the affected to switch to regular visas.
The permits were due to expire on June 30.
In a statement seen by Tateguru Tv South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi said the exemption permits have been extended to December 31.
“No holder of a valid Permit may be arrested, ordered to depart or be detained for purposes of deportation or deported for any reason related to him or her not having any valid exemption certificate in his or her passport, read the letter.
“No holder of exemption permits should be required to produce a valid exemption permit, an authorization letter to remain, South Africa, when making an application for any category of the visa including temporary residency visa,” reads part of the communique.
At least 10 000 Zimbabweans have since registered to come back home.
At the moment the Department of Immigration at Beitbridge Border Post is processing documents for an average of 200 returning residents a day who are holders of the Zimbabwe Exemption Permit (ZEP).
Over 170 000 Zimbabweans are based in South Africa under the special permit.
In 2009, the South African government launched the Dispensation of Zimbabwean Project to provide amnesty to undocumented Zimbabwean nationals in South Africa to regularize their stay.
In 2018, the permit dispensation was extended and renamed to the ZEP, for four years which was due to expire at the end of last year. This was extended to the middle of this year.