The executive director of the Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) says they have received “alarming” threats following the foundation’s announcement that it was challenging South Africa’s termination of the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP).
South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi terminated the ZEP, which ended on 31 December 2021 saying it will not be extended and the country’s cabinet supported the decision.
Those with a permit have a 12-month grace period to either apply for another type of permit or leave.
Nicole Fritz told News24 on Friday that “… attempts to intimidate and harass us is alarming and scary”.
The foundation had already filed court papers.
Fritz, who also raised the issue of threats on her Twitter account, said the responses they’ve received pointed to how “frightening it must be to be a migrant in South Africa at this point in time”. HSF said in a statement that:
It is not the position of HSF that those migrants who are in South Africa unlawfully should be entitled to remain, nor even that the ZEP must continue in perpetuity.
Rather, our position is that those who have scrupulously observed South Africa’s laws in order to live and work here, under the ZEP, cannot have such permits terminated without fair process, good reason and a meaningful opportunity to regularise their status. It is what our constitutional order demands.
When South Africa made the decision not to renew the ZEP in November 2021, Zimbabweans and rights groups, approached the court on an urgent basis but they were unsuccessful.
Fritz emphasised that the 178 000 Zimbabwean exemption permit holders had been in the country lawfully and had been observing the laws of the country.
South Africans have been calling for the deportation of foreigners whom they said were worsening the unemployment crisis and poverty amongst local citizens.