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Urgent request for extension of Zimbabwean exemption permits

Neelam Rahim | neelam@radioislam.co.za

3-minute read
05 June 2023 | 20:12 CAT

Image: NEASA

Image: NEASA

Several community and civil society members have made an urgent request to President Cyril Ramaphosa, the Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi and members of parliament for an extension of the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit. The permit, commonly known as the ZEP, is due to expire at the end of June.

Approximately 178,000 Zimbabweans without applying for alternative permits, like spousal or work permits, could face deportation.

Speaking to Radio Islam International, GSAX convener Roshila Nair highlighted what the sudden announcement of the intended cancellation by the DHA means for all of these people. Many, who have been living in the country for decades, paid taxes, boosted the economy and have children who know no other home than South Africa.

According to Nair, the organisations sent a letter to the minister of home affairs, Aaron Motsoaledi, and MPs on May 26, asking for a deadline extension.

In the letter, the organisations said the permit cancellation threatens the status of the people, lives and livelihoods.

“The sudden announcement on the intended cancellation by the DHA [department of home affairs] has created an imminent humanitarian crisis for them,” says Nair.

Nair said the last Zep holders who came through in 2010 have been in South Africa for over a decade. They have formed deep roots within our communities, society and economy, while many have been here long before South Africa became a democracy.

The Zep is a Humanitarian intervention by DHA and is in line with Ubuntu to extend a hand of friendship and help to people in need and is seen as a reflection of our responsibility, says Nair.

Meanwhile, according to Sowetan Live, Chairperson of the African Diaspora Workers Network Janet Munakamwe said the expiration of the permits doesn’t only affect the holders but their families.

“Most of these Zep holders have families, children who were born in SA and now with this cancellation, it threatens their rights because that means children will be stripped of their rights,” said Munakamwe.

Listen to the full interview on Your World Today with host Annisa Essack.

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