He said the only decision HSF could adequately seek to challenge was the minister’s decision to extend the ZEPs for 12 months.
“If regard is had to the grounds of review, it is clear that HSF contends that because ZEP holders have lived and worked in South Africa for approximately a decade, any decision not to grant a further blanket exemption to all ZEP holders would amount to an unjustifiable breach of the fundamental rights of ZEP holders.
“In the six-month period since the minister’s decision to extend the ZEPs for 12 months was announced, only 6 000 of the approximately 178 000 ZEP holders have taken the opportunity to make representations to the minister,” he said.
Makhode added the relief sought was “legally unsustainable” and added that any ZEP holder who meets the requirements of Section 26 of the Immigration Act was entitled to apply for permanent residence on any of the grounds contained in that section.
“On the evidence, HSF cannot demonstrate that any application for permanent residence made in terms of s26 by ZEP holders will be rejected.”
Makhode also lambasted the HSF for not putting up evidence on how many ZEP holders intended to lodge or have lodged applications for general work visas or how many were not able to meet the requirements.
Makhode also said it was estimated that there were more than a million undocumented Zimbabweans living in South Africa, and that an “order that declares that it is unconstitutional to deny further exemptions to ZEP holders until the Zimbabwe economy has recovered sufficiently, whatever that might mean would entitle any undocumented Zimbabweans to compel the minister to grant his/her an exemption from the provisions of the Immigration Act because of the economic situation in that country”.
He said this, in turn, would establish a right to remain in the country for economic migrants who do not meet the requirements for asylum.- News24