Zimbabwe federation to challenge Home Affairs' looming permits expiry

Last year, Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi announced that the special permit - which was first introduced more than a decade ago - would be terminated.

FILE: Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi visited the Department of Home Affairs' head office in Tshwane on 4 October 2019. Picture: Xanderleigh Dookey/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Another group is taking on the government’s decision to discontinue the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit.

Last year, Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi announced that the special permit - which was first introduced more than a decade ago - would be terminated.

This gave the hundreds of thousands of immigrants who are currently in the country, until the end of this year to arrange different permits or visas, or to leave South Africa.

Many of these men and women have been in the country for years now and have built their lives here.

Furthermore, the move has been widely criticised by civil society.

Last month, the Helen Suzman Foundation launched a legal challenge against the decision with the latest body to follow suit being the Zimbabwe Immigration Federation has followed suit.

The Zimbabwe Immigration Federation said the move was set to cause these Zimbabweans financial and personal prejudice, stress and anguish.

It said many Zimbabweans relied entirely on family members working in South Africa and that the move has “a direct and indirect disastrous impact on hundreds of thousands of people including children and their poverty-stricken families in Zimbabwe, where unemployment, instability, and starvation are rife”.

It’s now launched a review application in the Pretoria High Court, citing Motsoaledi and six others - including the director general of the department, the minister of police and the president - as respondents.

And it’s got some big names in its corner - including advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, who’s representing the group on instructions from Eric Mabuza.

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