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"We Haven't Withdrawn Application Against South Africa's ZEP Decision" - ZEPHA

The Lawyer representing the Zimbabwe Exemption Permit Holders Association, Simba Chitando, says the association has not withdrawn its application which challenges a controversial ZEP policy being pursued by South Africa.

South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs is seeking the halting of granting of permits to Zimbabweans who have been holding such permits for more than a decade now, though in various forms.

The ZEPs expired last year and were extended for a year to allow Zimbabweans to apply for other permits to continue to stay in South Africa.

ZEPHA has described South Africa’s decision to terminate the permits as the biggest fraud by an African government against Africans from neighbouring countries.

Chitando said the only party that had withdrawn its case was African Amity NPC and this was because of intimidation.

His remarks come after the Home Affairs Ministry on Friday issued a statement suggesting that the legal attempt to stop the deportation of over 178 000 Zimbabweans had fallen flat. Reads the statement: 

The Department of Home Affairs welcomes the withdrawal of the application filed in court by African Amity NPC and Zimbabwe Permit Holders Association under case no. 51735/21 on 14 June 2022.

The matter involved the challenge in court of the decision of the Minister of Home Affairs not to extend the exemptions granted to Zimbabweans. Sense seems to have prevailed – and the department’s doors are always open for constructive engagement with Zimbabwean nationals.

The Zimbabwe Exemption Permit (ZEP) was given to tens of thousands of Zimbabweans who fled the country over a decade ago.

They were welcomed in under the special ZEP route. However, Aaron Motsoaledi is determined on repealing this permit and wants all Zimbabweans on these visas to reapply for residency through Home Affairs. 

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