Zimbabwean Exemption Permits (ZEP) which were set to be terminated on 30 June have been extended by another six months.
The extension comes after an influx of applications streaming in daily in May as with the cut-off date fast approaching.
Minister of Home Affairs, Aaron Motsoaledi said the department has been receiving between 1,000 and 1,500 visa and waiver applications daily, and more officials have been deployed to assist in processing the applications.
“The Departmental Advisory Committee (DAC) led by Dr Cassius Lubisi is now dealing with the increased number of visa applications,” Motsoaledi said.
Under the extension, no holder of a valid ZEP may be arrested, ordered to leave the country or be detained for deportation for any reason related to not having a valid exemption certificate.
The permit holder will be allowed to enter and exit South Africa, provided they comply with all entry or exit requirements.
“ZEP holders would not be required to present an exemption permit or authorisation letter to remain in the country during the extension period,” Motsoaledi said.
When Zimbabwe was experiencing political and economic problems in 2008, many Zimbabweans started fleeing to South Africa. At the time the South African government made a decision to allow Zimbabweans to live and work in the country. The special permit has since become known as the ZEP.
The original permits were due to expire in December 2022. However, that cut-off date was extended by six months which will end on 30 June 2023 to allow permit holders to apply for other available visas.
The ZEP has now been extended by a further six months which will end on 31 December.
Motsoaledi is expected to request that International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor issue communication to the Zimbabwean ambassador informing him of the extension.
Compiled by staff reporter
Pictured Above: Home Affairs Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi
Image source: Facebook/home affairs page