- ZEP Confusion0.30 MB
With the expiration date for the Zimbabwe Exemption Permits drawing steadily closer, and a silence from the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) about the possibility of a further extension, as well as the continued wait for the judgement in the High Court case on the same issue, there has been, amongst ZEP holders, a heightened anxiety, restiveness and desperation with regard to their continued legal stay in South Africa.
It is quite possible that the DHA, too, is waiting for the High Court judgement so as to frame its overall response appropriately.
But, be that as it may, the desperation was not helped by a directive from Director General of the DHA, on 29th March, extending the validity of (other) long-term visas until 31st December 2023. This extension probably comes in the wake of the admission of the huge backlog in visa applications that was recently the subject of considerable contestation in Parliament.
The category to which the March directive applies is one that includes work and business visas, study visas, relative visas, and accompanying-spouse visas. It does not include ZEP holders, but many ZEP holders misread the directive, thinking that it applied to them too; this has led to false expectations and, in turn, chaos and confusion as witnessed over the past few days on various social and print media platforms. As far as ZEP holders are concerned, the status quo remains.
Briefing Paper by the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference Parliamentary Liaison Office
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