As the deadline for the expiry of the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) looms, permit holders say they do not have a plan post 30 June 2023.
An estimated 178 000 Zimbabweans living in South Africa face possible deportation at the end of next month, unless they apply and secure other permits.
What was known as the breadbasket of Africa suffered an unexpected fate in the early 2000s. Under the Robert Mugabe regime, political violence and economic instability became the order of the day in Zimbabwe.
There was only one place to turn to a country not too far from reach, a budding democracy, was on their doorstep. Borders were flooded with migrants.
As the numbers grew, the South African government, led by former President Jacob Zuma, intervened.
A decision was taken to regularise the migrants. Then Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba, explained the decision.
“The purpose of this is not only to document Zimbabweans who are in South Africa but also to regularise their stay.”
This was done through the special dispensation for Zimbabweans, which later became known as the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) a programme, which was renewed multiple times.
Deadline for Zimbabwean Exemption Permits draws near: Adv. Simba Chitando: