Zimbabwe Exemption Permit biggest fraud by a government against nationals of a neighbouring country


“The next stop by cabinet will obviously be the white population of this country, through a reform agenda, and then any other ethnic minority with means, until the majority have looted the minority,” he adds.

“The only hope for South Africa, and the short-term stability of the region, is a sober judiciary. Together with business leaders who must now diversify investments into South Africa’s neighbours to avoid the inevitable economic collapse on the horizon.”

The case was launched in October 2021, when ZEPHA brought an application before the Gauteng High Court to force Home Affairs to issue them with South African ID documents and declare them permanent residents.

In reply, Home Affairs’s Makhode argues that the ZEP system has its genesis in the colonial era.

The 1937 Aliens Act was introduced to regulate the entry and residential status of those citizens from other Commonwealth countries at a time when SA was a member of the Commonwealth.

ZEPHA says the department’s policy with respect to Zimbabwean Exemption Permit holders is schizophrenic.

“ZEP holders have been asked to change the conditions of their stay in South Africa during 2022, even though the permit says that they cannot change the conditions of their stay. The conditions on the permit were impossible to meet, and the respondents themselves renewed them even though they were unrenewable and extended them even though they cannot be extended.”

The mass migration of Zimbabweans to SA commenced in 2001 when that country faced sanctions for its land reform programme, argues Chinyanya. Migration accelerated again after 2008 in response to the country’s political and economic crises.

ZEPHA says it is embarrassing that the DHA would rely on colonial era immigration laws and exemptions that favoured white people from Commonwealth countries and former Portuguese colonies, but specifically excluded black Africans.

“This is clear black on black prejudice by the ANC government recorded here in SA’s national history, and currently before this Honourable Court,” reads Chinyanya’s affidavit.

The Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) is also challenging the DHA’s decision to end the ZEP system, and wants the North Gauteng High Court to declare all existing ZEPs valid. This would prevent any ZEP holder from being arrested or deported.

Foundation CEO Nicole Fritz says in her court filings that the Minister of Home Affairs has granted exemptions to qualifying Zimbabweans for more than 13 years under various exemptions schemes, starting with the Dispensation of Zimbabweans Project (DZP) in 2009, which gave legal status to more than 250 000 Zimbabweans who had fled political and economic instability in that country. This scheme was extended and renamed the Zimbabwean Special Permit (ZSP) in 2014 and the ZEP in 2017.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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