The Zimbabwean government has urged residents with exemption permits to comply with South African laws after it emerged only a handful had applied for the available mainstream visas.
The South African government announced that it would terminate the Zimbabwe Exemption Permit (ZEP) on 30 June 2023, a decision that will affect about 180 000 Zimbabweans residing in South Africa.
In a post-Cabinet media briefing on Tuesday evening, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Monica Mutsvangwa said the South African government expressed concern that less than 10% of ZEP holders had applied for the available mainstream visas.
Mutsvangwa said engagements on the issue of ZEP holders are being held at the government-to-government level, with the latest one being held at the mid-term review meeting of the Zimbabwe-South Africa bi-national commission in Pretoria on 10 August 2022.
“The South African government expressed concern that less than 10% of ZEP holders had applied for the available mainstream visas,” Mutsvangwa said.
“The government of Zimbabwe is encouraging the ZEP holders to comply with the South African laws.”
Zimbabwe’s Cabinet on Tuesday deliberated on the issue of the anticipated return of ZEP holders from South Africa following a report tabled by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Dr Fredrick Shava.
Minister Mutsvangwa expressed the Zimbabwe government’s readiness to receive returning nationals.
She said the government “is working on mechanisms to facilitate the smooth flow of the returnees at the Beitbridge border post”.