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South Africa Extends Validity of Zimbabwe Exemption Permits Expiring June 30

Aaron Motsoaledi
Aaron Motsoaledi

WASHINGTON - The South African government has extended the validity of Zimbabwean exemption permits, which were expiring on June 30th.

In a statement, Home Affair Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said he has extended the permits with effect from June 30, 2023, for a further six months “in order to allow the holders thereof to apply for one or other visas and waivers provided for in the Immigration Act, (read with Immigration Regulations, 2014)...”

Motsoaledi said holders of valid exemption permits should not be arrested, ordered to leave South Africa or be detained for purposes of deportation for not having permit stickers or labels on their passports.

He said, “The holder of a valid exemption permit may be allowed to enter into or depart from the Republic of South Africa in terms of section 9 of the Act, read together with the Immigration Regulations, 2014, provided that he or she complies with all other requirements for entry into and departure from the Republic, save for the reason of having an expired exemption permit indicated in his or her passport.”

Reacting to the minister’s directive, Bongani Mkhwananzi, spokesperson of the Zimbabwe Community in South Africa, praised the South African government for giving exemption permit holders a chance to regularize their status.

“We welcome this directive and we are grateful to the minister for taking into consideration the plight of our fellow compatriots and also acknowledging that he is signing a lot of waivers and that many people have started applying for the waivers.

“This extension should be used by our compatriots to migrate to the mainstream permits. They should not take this extension just as a chance to stay and do nothing about their documents. So, we encourage people to continue to apply for waivers as the minister has advised that he is signing these on a daily basis.”

There are 178,000 holders of Zimbabwe Exemption Permits, who are working and living in South Africa.