Counsel for the Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says the decision to terminate the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) did not take away the rights of the holders.
The High Court in Pretoria on Friday virtually heard the legal challenge of the termination of the ZEP from June the 30th 2023.
The ZEP is a special permit issued in terms of the Immigration Act.
It allows 178 000 ZEP holders and their children temporary legal status to live, work and study in South Africa.
The Helen Suzman Foundation, the first applicant in the matter, argued that without a ZEP, holders will have to return to Zimbabwe or remain in the country undocumented.
Final arguments in ZEP programme challenge:
Advocate Ismail Jamie pursued the argument that the Minister took away people’s rights through his decision.
Meanwhile Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi has argued that the ZEP can only be withdrawn for reasons relating to the political and economic stability in the neighbouring country.
Ngcukaitobi is representing the Zimbabwe Immigration Federation in the High Court in Pretoria, in the challenge against the termination of the ZEP programme.
Ngcukaitobi says the argument the department has advanced on the termination of the ZEP is not linked to why it was introduced.
“The primary justification why the DZP later to be called the ZEP scheme was introduced was precisely because of the decline in the economic and political situation in Zimbabwe , that means that it can only be withdrawn for reasons that are related to the economic and political instability in Zimbabwe. What we have here is a random assemblage of justifications that have no bearing to the justification of introducing the scheme in the first place.”
Proposed settlement on the table in the Zimbabwe Immigration Federation’s (ZIF) legal challenge: