Advocate Steven Budlender has argued that Home Affairs Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi’s decision to terminate the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) is invalid as it did not follow proper protocol.
Budlender is representing the Helen Suzman Foundation in the Pretoria High Court in its challenge against the department. It is seeking a declaration that the Minister’s decision is unconstitutional, unlawful and invalid and that it be set aside.
Last year, the department announced that it would not renew the special dispensation for a fourth time since its inception in 2009.
The ZEP is a special permit issued in terms of the Immigration Act that allows its holders and their children temporary legal status to live, work and study in South Africa. The permit was introduced by the South African government to cope with an influx of undocumented Zimbabweans.
Budlender has argued that the Minister must reconsider the decision to terminate the ZEP, following proper process.
“My client does not suggest and does not ask this court to find that the Minister may never terminate the ZEP programme, that is not my client’s case and that is not the submission I make, but my client does say and I do submit that because any termination has such profound consequences in order to be valid, it must firstly, follow a fair and procedurally rational consultation process. Secondly, be consistent with fundamental constitutional rights enshrined in our constitution and thirdly, be based on lawful, rational and reasonable grounds.
The hearing is currently continuing in court. Watch video below: