Home Affairs, Helen Suzman Foundation tussle over looming Zim permits expiry

Around 180 000 Zimbabweans will have to find another way of regularising their stay after the permit expires in December.

Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi briefs the media on 5 June 2018 on the status of healthcare in the country. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - Home Affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi has accused the Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) of blackmailing the nation over the expiry of the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP).

On Tuesday, the department hit back at the organisation's bid to challenge the expiry of the permit in court.

“The HSF, in its desperate bid to blackmail the nation, is twisting the support for the minister’s decision by the majority of South African citizens as being ‘xenophobic’. Nothing could be further from the truth,” said Home Affairs in a statement.

Around 180 000 Zimbabweans will have to find another way of regularising their stay after the permit expires in December.

But many have spoken of the administrative challenges they have experienced at government offices as they try to apply for general work permits.

The HSF said the ZPE expiry will lead to many Zimbabweans becoming illegal immigrants.

“The recent surprising court action launched by the Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) is a perfect example of the destructive role that some non-governmental organisations (NGO) are capable of,” said Home Affairs.

“Since the announcement of the decision of the Minister not to extend the exemption granted to Zimbabwean nationals, he has engaged with several members of civil society with a view to manage the consequences of his decision collectively.”

The department further said the foundation was dictatorial.

“There’s a disturbing and growing trend by some NGOs to sabotage the polycentric and policy-laden decisions taken by Government by using the courts. This development must be nipped in the bud as soon as possible.

“South Africa is now under the dictatorship of some of the NGOs with some having faceless and dubious funders.

Their ultimate aim is to assist in the dislodgement of the government of the day from power by all means available,” said Home Affairs.