The Zimbabwean embassy in South Africa will soon launch a bid for the return of the Zimbabwe Exemption Permit (ZEP) as more than 180 000 face deportation if they cannot find alternative legal permission to live in South Africa.
Several lobby groups met last week at the University of Cape Town to discuss the upcoming court bid to oppose the government’s decision to scrap the ZEP.
A lawyer representing permit holders, Advocate Simba Chitando, says, “The Zimbabwean government is not responsible for the decision to terminate the ZEP. In my view, all the Zim government can do is make provisions to accept the Zim nationals who may want to return to Zimbabwe.
“It looks like the Zim government is saying that for those who wish to return, I got the sense that it is a voluntary exercise, and they are doing what any government would do when there is a crisis in a foreign country, to make provisions for the return of its own people.”
In September last year, Home Affairs said it was compelled to grant a six-month extension for special permits allowing Zimbabwean nationals to live and work in the country due to the few applications received from people to regularize their stay in the country.
South Africa plans to end most special permits for foreign nationals as it revamps its immigration policies to manage an influx of economic migrants.
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