ZEPs Win Big
19 June 2024
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South Africa- The Constitutional Court has dismissed an application by the Minister of Home Affairs, Aaron Motsoaledi, to terminate the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP).

In June 2023, the Pretoria High Court ruled that the termination of the ZEP had been unlawful and unconstitutional.

The High Court ruling ordered the Minister to reconsider the termination of the programme and follow a fair, lawful and consultative process.

Motsoaledi then appealed the ruling but it was dismissed by the Supreme Court of Appeal on the grounds it had no prospects of success.

Subsequently, the Minister turned to the Constitutional Court, essentially on the same grounds, asking that it adjudicate over the issue.

In the application lodged in the Constitutional Court, Home Affairs director-general Livhuwani Tommy Makhode, who was the second applicant after the Minister, sought leave to appeal against the whole June 2023 judgment of the Pretoria High Court.

The Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF), a non-governmental organisation, opposed the application by the Minister.

In a statement issued this Wednesday, 19 June, HSF confirmed the dismissal of Motsoaledi’s appeal by the Constitutional Court. It said:

Yesterday, the Constitutional Court dismissed an application by the Minister of Home Affairs (Minister) for leave to appeal a June 2023 Pretoria High Court judgment which held that the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) had been unlawfully terminated.

That June 2023 judgment was unequivocal in holding that the Minister is obliged to follow a fair consultation process, which duly considers the rights of those affected by terminating the ZEP before he be lawfully allowed to do so.

The Constitutional Court’s order affirms with finality that this most basic of legal duties binds the Minister, notwithstanding changes in office that may occur once a new government is formed when deciding the ZEP’s future.

It is a vital affirmation – for ZEP holders and South African citizens alike – that principles of fair hearing and rational government are indispensable to our constitutional democracy.