South Africa’s Minister of Home Affairs, Aaron Motsoaledi, has extended the validity of Zimbabwean Exit Permits (ZEP) to 31 December 2023.
He had earlier extended the validity of the permits issued to Zimbabwean nationals to 30 June, but the Department of Home Affairs (DoH) said in a statement on Wednesday that “significant developments had taken place since then.”
“The minister has approved thousands of waiver applications of the affected Zimbabwean nationals. This has resulted in a significant increase in visa and waiver applications.”
The Departmental Advisory Committee (DAC), led by Dr Cassius Lubisi, is now dealing with the increased number of visa applications.
Motsoaledi is equally considering and approving waiver applications daily.”
Because of the recent threat to ZEP permit holders, visa outsourcer VFS Global had been receiving up to 1 500 visa and waiver applications from affected Zimbabwean nationals daily.
“For these reasons, the director general has deployed more officials to assist in the processing of the applications,” it said.
The DoH said that the minister had considered these factors including, “to a certain extent”, submissions received from affected Zimbabwean nationals, its own officials, and other interested parties, in the decision to extend the exemption for a further period of six months. The permit validity period now ends on 31 December.
Minister’s Immigration Directive no: 2 of 2023, will be published in the Extraordinary Government Gazette tomorrow on 8 June.
“The Minister calls upon all interested parties to consider the said Directive in their decision-making processes.”
The department added that Motsoaledi will write to the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor, requesting her to bring the Directive to the attention of the ambassador of Zimbabwe.