RELIEF FOR ZEP HOLDERS IN SA newsdzeZimbabweNewsdzeZimbabwe

RELIEF FOR ZEP HOLDERS IN SA newsdzeZimbabweNewsdzeZimbabwe

Zimbabwe Exemption Permit (Zep) holder Emily Machingauta (44) has welcomed the South African government’s decision to grant a two-year extension to Zimbabwean permit holders.

The waiver allows her and other Zep holders to work and study in South Africa until November 2025.

“This decision has given me a little time to breathe and plan,” Machingauta said.

In a statement issued by the South African Department of Home Affairs, Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said he was granting an exemption to about 178,000 Zimbabwean citizens for two years under Section 31 (2) (b) of immigration. Law of 2002.

The statement revealed that 78,126 Zimbabwean citizens applied for exemptions and 10,427 applied for other visa regimes.

As such, the exemption provides protection to them while they await the outcome of their applications, Motsoaledi said.

The extension comes as a temporary relief to Zep holders who were concerned after permits were not extended in 2021.

Organizations such as the Helen Suzman Foundation and the Exemption Permit Holders Association of Zimbabwe have sued the Ministry of Home Affairs, arguing that it is unlawful not to recognize the rights and dignity of permit holders.

ZEP holders are breathing a sigh of relief following the court’s decision to reserve judgment until further notice

Since 2021, South Africa has been granting a six-month to one-year extension to enable ZEP holders to apply for permit regimes and other exemptions.

Machingauta’s waiver was approved and she is now in the process of applying for a general permit.

Aside from the stress caused by this uncertainty, Machingauta, a public worker, is also concerned about the R3 255 she will have to pay when submitting her application for a public permit.

“Although at this stage I have consulted others who have applied for this permit system before me, there is no guarantee that your application will be approved,” Machingauta said.

“Furthermore, I also need to pay for the necessary medical medications as part of the general permit requirements.”

Lawyer Gabriel Shumba, President of the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum, said a waiver in terms of Section 31(2)(c) may be necessary when one does not meet some prevailing permit requirements as in the case of general employment the visa may not have a certificate from the Ministry of Labour.

Machingauta is also concerned as she struggles to meet her daily needs as well as take care of her family in Zimbabwe.

“Even though things are better here in South Africa, it is difficult for me to raise all this money and at the same time take care of my family back home. [in Zimbabwe] “I’m also the breadwinner,” she said.

Shumba praised the postponement, saying it was a “welcome relief, preventing job losses and uncertainty over savings in banks among other things.”

“However, what is unfortunate is that the window of opportunity for those who wanted to migrate to prevailing exemptions and permits closed before 31 December 2023, which was previously announced. In addition, the fact that there is now an additional two-year extension does not obviate the need for compliance.” For the court decision where the two-year extension was taken away from Zep holders,” Shumba said.

Tarisai Magomire (42 years old) was relieved when he was able to obtain the then special exemption permits granted to Zimbabweans to organize their stay in South Africa in 2009.

This opened doors for him, enabling him to get a better paying job and take care of his three children.

“As a public worker here, I have been able to support myself and my family here in South Africa and support my parents back home in Zimbabwe,” he said. Newsday

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