By-Harare has announced that Cabinet Ministers from Zimbabwe and South Africa are set to meet in October to continue deliberations on the Zimbabwe Exemption Permits (ZEP).
The special ZEP permits were issued in 2009, and are due to expire at the end of this year. They had expired end of 2021 but were extended for a year to allow Zimbabweans to apply for other permits to continue to stay in South Africa.
The ZEP is a special dispensation permit, which provided legal protection to an estimated 178 000 Zimbabweans who live, work and study in South Africa.
This will leave about 178 000 Zimbabweans facing deportation from South Africa.
Addressing Tuesday’s post-Cabinet briefing, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the agreement to meet in October was made at the recent Bi-National Commission (BNC) Mid-Term Review. She said:
On Zimbabwe Exemption Permit, the Mid Term Review urged Ministers of Labour and of Home Affairs to meet by the end of October 2022 to make relevant interventions on Labour migration.
Meanwhile, South Africa’s decision to terminate ZEPs is being challenged in courts there.
Those who are pushing for the reversal of the decision argue that the revocation of the permit affects all types of people from across the social spectrum – teachers, truck drivers, students and doctors and will separate families and leave others stranded without cars or access to banking.