Reprieve for Zimbabweans in South Africa

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Harare (New Ziana) – The South African government on Friday said it had extended, by a further six months, the Zimbabwe Exemption Permit (ZEP), which provides legal protection to Zimbabwean nationals to live and work in South Africa.

Pretoria had intended to discontinue issuing special work permits for Zimbabweans by December this year.

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said the decision had been made following internal consultations.

“The Minister has carefully considered the request and decided to extend the period by a further six months, that is 31 December 2022 to 30 June 2023. Another factor considered by the Minister is that few Zimbabwean nationals have thus far applied for visas and or waivers,” he said.

“The Minister is committed to affording the affected Zimbabwean nationals another opportunity to apply for one or other visas and/or waivers provided for in the immigration Act.”

Motsoaledi encouraged Zimbabweans to utilise the extended period to regularise their stay in South Africa.

“There will be no further extension granted by the Minister.”

Internal pressure from South African employers could also have contributed to the latest stance by the South African government.

Last month the National Employers Association of South Africa expressed strong misgivings over the government’s original plan, saying the decision constituted a serious human rights violation.

A lot of South Africa businesses across the board are reliant on Zimbabwean labour, whose loss – en masse – would be catastrophic on their operations.

An estimated three million Zimbabweans live and work in South Africa, a good number illegally.
New Ziana

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