ZIMBABWE EXEMPTION PERMIT (ZEP) MISINFORMATION ADDRESSED.
Updated: Jan 5, 2022
Last night on my Twitter Space, Advocate Simba Chitando came to address the issue of ZEP permits and the directive withdrawn by the South African Department of Home Affairs, and this is what he said:
1. On the 24th of November 2021, South Africa’s cabinet filed opposing affidavits to a case filed by the advocate on behalf of Zimbabwe Exemption Permit Holders Association and African Amity, to enjoin South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs to give ZEP holders who have been in South Africa longer than 10 years, permanent residence permits.
2. In the opposing affidavit, the South African cabinet decided not to renew the ZEP permits and gave holders of the permits 12 months to apply for new permits to regularize themselves, a provision which was not permissible previously for ZEP permit holders.
3. The Department of Home Affairs then separately issued its own directive (Directive number 10 of 29 Nov 2021), instructing all ZEP holders to apply for regularization or new visas by the 31st of December 2021, in order to qualify for the 12 month grace period offered by cabinet.
Those who failed to apply by the 31st of December 2021, would run the risk of having their bank accounts closed; leases, jobs, loans and educational activities cancelled, starting from the 1st of January 2022.
4. The Advocate believes that Home Affairs was acting in badfaith [if not maliciously] and incompetently by making such a directive, knowing well that their system and the process of applying for new permits, the period required to get police clearances from Zimbabwe and South Africa and other requirements would take more than the 33 days from the 29th of November 2021 to their deadline of 31st of December 2021.
5. Soon after the Home Affairs Directive, Advocate Chitando was once again instructed by the clients mentioned above, to challenge the Home Affairs directive in court.
6. On the 13th of December 2021, a day before yesterday’s court hearing, Home Affairs withdrew the misguided Directive 10 of 29 November 2021 requiring ZEP holders to have put in applications for new visas by the impossible deadline of the 31st of December 2021 to be allegeable for the grace period ending 31 December 2022.
7. Henceforth, all ZEP holders have the 12 month grace period offered by cabinet, to regularize themselves by getting other visas.
8. The Advocate, however, insists that cabinet’s decision for ZEP holders to regularize themselves by moving to other permits, is inconsistent with the law because he believes that ZEP holders are already legally in the republic [of South Africa] therefore regularized and so after 10 years in South Africa, most have earned the right to permanent residency on a number of legal and human rights grounds.
More to come.
By Rutendo Bereza Matinyarare Strategist for Frontline Strat Marketing Consultancy and Chairman of ZASM and ZUAUWS anti-sanctions civil society organizations.