The Zimbabwean Exemption Permit Visa was a special dispensation permit that was extended to over 200 000 Zimbabweans working in South Africa since 2009. The Zimbabwean Exemption Permit Visa (ZEP) was discontinued on 24 November 2021 but the South African government decided on a 12-month grace period at the expiry of the ZEP on December 31, 2021. Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams said at the end of the 12-month grace period, those who would have failed to successfully apply for other permits would have to leave South Africa or be deported.


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 Zimbabwean Exemption Permit was initiated in 2017 and came to an end on 31 December 2021.[1]


  1. Thupeyo Muleya, BREAKING: South Africa discontinues Zim special dispensation permits, The Herald, Published: November 25, 2021, Retrieved: November 25, 2021