Gauteng High Court Reserves Judgement In Zimbabwe Exemption Permit Case5 months ago
A full bench in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria has reserved its judgement in the case brought by the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit Holders (ZEPHA) and other civil society organisations against the state, reported GroundUp.
ZEPHA is seeking permanent residence in South Africa for Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) holders.
ZEPHA had previously asked for ZEP holders to be given permanent residence but this was then changed to ask the court to allow them to apply for permanent residence, as required by the Immigration Act.
ZEPHA had also asked for the Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi’s decision to terminate the ZEP scheme to be set aside as unlawful and invalid.
Arguing for the state, advocate Myron Dewrance said the ZEP permit specifically prohibited the holder from applying for permanent residence.
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However, Advocate Simba Chitando, representing ZEPHA, argued that the Immigration Act makes provision for those residing in South Africa under a variety of visa programmes to apply for permanent residence and that this right should be granted to ZEP holders.
SABC News quoted Presiding Officer Justice Colleen Collis as saying:
We have concluded during our brief adjournment that in order to do justice to the merits of this application as well as the importance of the application to the parties concerned and the urgency of this application that it would be prudent rather reserve our ruling.
We are aware that the litigants before the court would want to have finalisation of their pending application before the 30th of June 2023 so we will have that in mind.
The exemption permit system was introduced in 2009 under the Dispensation of Zimbabweans Project (DZP).
It allowed some 250 000 Zimbabweans unlawfully in South Africa to regularise their status, allowing them to live, work and study in South Africa.
In 2014, the DZP was renamed the Zimbabwe Special Permit (ZSP). The name changed again three years later to Zimbabwe Exemption Permit or ZEP.
In September 2022, South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs extended the permit which was due to expire on December 31, for a further six months to June 30, 2023.
More: Pindula News