Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi has extended the validity of the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) to 31 December. This is revealed in a directive signed by the Minister, dated 7 June 2023.
#ZEP : The validity of the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit has been extended to 31 December 2023. The 6-month extension ensures that no holder of a valid permit may be arrested, ordered to depart or be detained for purposes of deportation. #SABCNews pic.twitter.com/CIaU2DYV9a
— Canny Maphanga (@CannyMaphanga) June 8, 2023
The permit, which allows almost 180 000 holders to live, work and study in South Africa, was due to expire on 30 June 2023, leaving holders with the option to apply for alternative visas or return to Zimbabwe.
The factors behind this extension are articulated in a media statement by the Department of Home Affairs, saying that the Minister has approved thousands of waiver applications of the affected Zimbabwean nationals resulting in a significant increase in the number of visa and waiver applications that need to be processed.
The six-month extension ensures that no holder of a valid permit may be arrested, ordered to depart or be detained for purposes of deportation.
The extension further allows ZEP holders to enter and depart the borders of South Africa.
Judgment in the legal challenge to the expiry of the ZEP remains reserved.