The South African Government has announced that the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP), which ends 31 December 2021, will not be extended and has urged holders of current permits to apply for other permits or leave the country by end of 2022.
In a statement, the South African Government said those that fail to qualify for other permits will have to leave the country or face deportation.
“Cabinet considered the much talked about ZEP and also noted the fake news being spread on these permits. The first Zimbabwean special dispensation started in 2009 and was called the Dispensation for Zimbabwe Permit. It provided for the documentation of qualifying Zimbabweans for a five-year period.
“In 2014, the dispensation was extended by three years and called the Zimbabwean Special Permit. The current ZEP was initiated in 2017 and comes to an end on 31 December 2021. Following its deliberations, Cabinet decided to no longer issue extensions to the Zimbabwean special dispensations. However, it decided on a 12 months grace period at the expiry of the current ZEP.
“During this period, the holders of this permit should apply for other permits appropriate to their particular status or situation. At the expiry of this 12-month period, those who are not successful will have to leave South Africa or be deported,” read the statement
More than 180,000 Zimbabweans are holders of the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit which came about in 2009 as the Dispensation of Zimbabwean Permit and was meant to legalise thousands of Zimbabweans living in South Africa because of political and socio economic crisis in Zimbabwe.