Sweet news for thousands of Zimbabweans living and working in South Africa


Zimbabwe Exemption Permits extended for Zimbabweans in South Africa

Zimbabwean nationals living in South Africa can now breathe a sigh of relief as authorities have announced the extension of the Zimbabwe Exemption Permits (ZEP) for an additional two years, effectively until November 2025.

This decision, which comes as a welcome respite for many Zimbabweans, was confirmed by Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi during a recent media briefing.

Under the extension, approximately 178,000 Zimbabwean nationals will be granted exemption permits in accordance with section 32b of the Immigration Act of 2002. Minister Motsoaledi outlined the terms and conditions for the new permits, stating that holders will be entitled to work, seek employment, and conduct business in South Africa during the period of exemption.

The extension of the ZEPs follows a previous decision by Pretoria to halt the renewal of permits that had expired in December of the previous year. At that time, permit holders were given a one-year grace period to transition to alternative visa arrangements or face potential deportation.

Initially introduced in 2009 by then Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the ZEP was designed as a temporary solution to address the escalating refugee crisis emanating from Zimbabwe. With an estimated 180,000 ZEP holders currently residing in South Africa, the extension provides a measure of stability and security for many Zimbabweans who have sought refuge or opportunities in the neighbouring country.

Zimbabwe has experienced a significant outflow of both skilled and unskilled citizens over the past two years, prompting South Africa to implement various measures, including heightened border security, to manage the influx of migrants. The extension of the ZEPs reflects a recognition of the ongoing challenges faced by Zimbabweans and the need for continued support and accommodation.

This development will not only provide a sense of relief for Zimbabweans living in South Africa but also contribute to fostering better integration and stability within the migrant community. The extended permits offer Zimbabwean nationals the opportunity to work and contribute to the South African economy, while also ensuring that they can continue to pursue their livelihoods and aspirations during these uncertain times.

As the two-year extension takes effect, Zimbabweans in South Africa can now focus on building their lives and making valuable contributions to their host country. The decision to prolong the ZEPs demonstrates a commitment to compassion and understanding, acknowledging the aspirations and challenges faced by individuals seeking a better future beyond their homeland’s borders.

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