SA speaks on permit renewals

by | Dec 5, 2021 | International | 0 comments


Hosia Mviringi

The South African government will not be renewing expired Special Exempt Permits for Zimbabweans working in the country.

In a recent Immigration Directive, the Department of Home Affairs announced a Cabinet decision not to renew expired Zimbabwe Exemption Permits.

The department has instead granted a twelve-month grace period for affected Zimbabweans to regularise their stay through normal channels.

“Cabinet decided to no longer issue extensions to Zimbabwean nationals who are holders of Zimbabwe Exemption Permits, but a twelve month grace period following expiry of current ZEP on December 31, 2021 within which these ZEP holders need to regularise their status within South Africa in terms of the Immigration Act of 2002,” said the statement

The Exemption Permit holders will, within the twelve month grace period, be expected to apply for mainstream VISAS in the categories they qualify.

At the end of the reprieve all those with unsuccessful applications will have to return home voluntarily or be deported.

South Africa first issued Special Dispensation Permits, these permits were valid for five years up until 2014 after which they were extended by another three years upon request by the government of Zimbabwe.

In 2017 these permits were replaced by the current Zimbabwe Exempt Permits whose life span runs until end of 2021.


The South African government is under pressure to dispatch Zimbabwean by workers unions in that country who perceive Zimbabweans as having taken away their jobs.

Recently, a video went viral of hundreds of Zimbabwean being rounded up and driven out of South Africa by angry mobs, while Zimbabwean cross border truck drivers continue to face life threatening harassment by that country’s drivers’ unions.

The latest South African government decision, coupled by open targeting and harassment of Zimbabwean citizens has been described as a precursor and a build up to violent xenophobic attacks.