Kgomotso Modise9 June 2023 | 10:00

ZEP holders praying for a miracle after Home Affairs extension

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi on Thursday announced the further extension of the ZEP to the end of December 2023.

ZEP holders praying for a miracle after Home Affairs extension

FILE: Department of Home Affairs. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG –With Home Affairs deciding to extend the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) once again, some permit holders say they will continue to pray for a miracle.

Minister Aaron Motsoaledi announced the decision to extend the ZEP until the end of this year.

The permit was set to expire at the end of this month, which meant that Zimbabweans who had been in South Africa on the permit would have had to find other ways to regularise their stay.

The department decided to discontinue the permit at the end of this month, causing much panic among the 178,000 ZEP holders.

The minister said that the decision for the extension was as a result of the influx of waiver applications that his department had been receiving this month.


While the extension of the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit is a welcome relief for those who have not been granted alternative visas, it only delays the inevitable expiry now scheduled for the end of this year.

The ZEP Holders Association said that all this move did was calm the anxieties of many Zimbabweans.

"At least the calamity and the catastrophe that was pending at the end of this month has been averted but only for a short period of time."

Stella Makande, who has been teaching in South Africa for 15 years, said that she was hoping for a miracle.

"Financial blessings hopefully, so that if it is us going, you know that you are going somewhere you can afford to settle or a miracle from Home Affairs to give us work visas."

She also said she felt less anxious.

"It definitely buys me more time, not much to do anything, but at least that pressure that we had is better than what it was."

Lawyer for the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit Holders’ Association, Advocate Simba Chitando, likened Home Affairs' extension to a small bandage for a deep wound.

"We don't even believe that Home Affairs would be in a position to resolve the papers that they received, the applications they are claiming they received. We don't think they can handle them by the end of this year."

The minister encouraged ZEP holders to apply for waivers at Home Affairs, which is a step towards attaining the general work visa.

Meanwhile, a Pretoria High Court ruling on the discontinuation of the ZEP is yet to be delivered.