Zimbabweans living in South Africa under the Zimbabwe Exemption Permit (ZEP) will be relieved to learn that an announcement on the ZEP Renewal is due this November.
Anxiety has been growing amongst Zimbabweans in South Africa who benefited from the special dispensation permits. ZEP holders were concerned about the SA government’s delay to announce the ZEP Renewal process which in previous permits they would have announced the Renewal Process by now.
A decision on the Zimbabwe Permit Renewal will be made before the end of November and current indications suggest that there will be another permit introduced to cater for the over 180 000 Zimbabweans who benefited from the permit.
Zimbabwe Community in South Africa chairperson Mr Ngqabutho Mabhena said most Zimbabweans were anxious as the year is coming to an end.
“We are waiting for the South African government to make an announcement. We were told that a decision will be made in November so we are waiting. We do not know what is going to happen, but, of course, people are worried about what is likely to be announced by the Minister of Home Affairs when he decides to make an announcement,” said Mr Mabhena.
He added that: “We have been engaging with both the Zimbabwean and South African governments and made submissions of the ZEP to be granted permanent residence status because they have been resident there for more than 10 years and continue to contribute to the South African economy,” said Mr Mabhena.
If the Zimbabwe Permit Renewal gets the green light, it will be welcome for the thousands of Zimbabweans who have been living in the country. Another issue that has been discussed is the issue of children born in South Africa to holders of the Zimbabwe special permit. the permit does not include anyone who did not apply in 2010. Many Zimbabweans have made South Africa their home and have kids. The kids remain excluded from the permits.
Zimbabweans have benefitted from the special permits since 2010 when the Dispensation of Zimbabweans (DZP) was introduced.
The permit expired in 2014 and the Zimbabwe Special Permit (ZSP) was introduced which lapsed in 2017.
It was followed by the ZEP which will expire on December 31, 2021.