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South Africa Banks Threatening to Close Bank Accounts of 178,000 Zimbabweans Exemption Permit Holders Expiring Soon

A map of South Africa
A map of South Africa

Some South African banks are threatening to freeze accounts of Special Zimbabweans Exemption Permit holders if they don’t provide new documents in January 2022.

One of the permit holders, who requested anonymity, said he received a notice from Capitec Bank informing him that his work permit is expected to expire and therefore he has to renew it in order to have an active bank account.

The letter reads in part, “… Your work permit expires in January. Visit your nearest branch with your new permit to keep your account active …”

In a message posted on YouTube, Ngqabutho Mabhena, chairperson of the Zimbabwe Community in South Africa, said his organization is engaging banks to ensure that ZEP holders’ accounts are not closed since all the permits expire at the end of this month.

“What we have already said is that we need to get clarity on whether the banks will not close down people’s accounts as a result of this 12-month grace period. Any government department will not refuse people entry or refuse to provide services to ZEP holders …”

The South African government decided last Friday to discontinue the ZEP program and give permit holders until December 31, 2022, to regularize their immigration status.