The Zimbabwean Exemption Permit Holders Association, which speaks for about 250 000 Zimbabweans based in South Africa, has asked for permanent residencies.
The association on Wednesday pleaded with the Gauteng High Court for the Zimbabwean nationals’ permanent residencies on Wednesday before the expiration of the permits in November 2021.
It also asked for South African ID documents based on permanent residency in the neighbouring country and in terms of the Immigration Act as well as the Identification Act. The court statement read in part:
… knowing that the holders of the permit have known no other home besides South Africa for more than 10 years.
It is further submitted that the holders of Zimbabwean Exemption Permits have a legitimate expectation for the renewal of their current permit, and for permanent residence, without any further conditions, and the right to apply for citizenship in the Republic of South Africa.
Meanwhile, Advocate Simba Chitando, a Zimbabwean national, said the neighbouring country’s immigrants have delivered consistent value towards South Africa’s wealth. He said:
The problem faced by many hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans in SA is that they have been here for 10 years or longer under a variety of different permits, and it is generally conceded that they make a huge contribution to the SA economy, yet these permits do not allow them to enjoy the benefits that come with permanent residences, such as full access to banking facilities, or the right to accumulate pension savings.
We argue that it is past time to grant permanent residence to those Zimbabweans who have been living and working in SA in a kind of no-man’s land.
We believe it is reasonable to expect to be granted permanent residence when the ZEPs expire, which they do in November 2021.