The Zimbabwean Immigration Federation Presses With Court Action Despite ZEP Extension1 year ago
The Zimbabwean Immigration Federation (ZIF) has said it is pressing on with court action against the Department of Home Affairs despite the extension of the Zimbabwe Exemption Permits (ZEPs) last week.
ZIF took the department to court, challenging the termination of the ZEPs saying the process should be overhauled and restarted.
Last week, the department extended the ZEP by a further six months. They will now expire in June 2023 instead of December 2022.
One reason for the extension was that the department had received few applications by Zimbabwean nationals for ordinary visas so far
ZIF says the six-month extension is not enough. Luke Dzviti of the ZIF said while they were relieved by the extension, it was not a solution. News24 cites him as saying:
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The same problems we have now in reviewing the visas are the same problems we will have by 30 June. The conditions have not changed. People have no homes in Zimbabwe. They built their lives here.
Last month, News24 reported the department made submissions in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria that only 6 000 of the 178 000 permit holders had made representations about why the department should not terminate their permits.
Among other things, ZIF wants the court to:
i). Prohibit the government from arresting or deporting ZEP holders once their permits expire.
ii). To order the Home Affairs department to restart the review process for permits and, in the meantime, allow ZEP holders to remain in the country.
The organisation’s Rosemary Anderson said to force ZEPs holders to leave South Africa would have negative consequences for the hospitality and tourism industry and also cause trauma and pain to affected individuals.
She added the unemployment problems in the country would not improve even if ZEP holders left the country.
Meanwhile, ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba said the extension was a “mockery of our constitutional democracy and further chips away at the autonomy of our state and its function, especially on managing our borders”.