South Africa has terminated the issuance of the special Zimbabwe Exemption Permit (ZEP) which had been extended to over 200 000 Zimbabweans working in that country since 2009.
Phumla Williams, the cabinet spokesperson, in a post-cabinet statement on Thursday, said the cabinet had resolved that the permit holders be given a 12-month grace period at the expiry of the permits on 31 December 2021.
Here is the full statement on the ZEP:
Cabinet considered the much talked about ZEP and also noted the fake news being spread on these permits. The first Zimbabwean special dispensation started in 2009 and was called the Dispensation for Zimbabwe Permit. It provided for the documentation of qualifying Zimbabweans for a five-year period.
In 2014, the dispensation was extended by three years and called the Zimbabwean Special Permit. The current ZEP was initiated in 2017 and comes to an end on 31 December 2021.
Following its deliberations, Cabinet decided to no longer issue extensions to the Zimbabwean special dispensations. However, it decided on a 12 months grace period at the expiry of the current ZEP.
During this period, the holders of this permit should apply for other permits appropriate to their particular status or situation. At the expiry of this 12-month period, those who are not successful will have to leave South Africa or be deported.
Social media was recently awash with misinformation that the South African government had extended the permits by five years, rumours which the Cabinet statement referred to as fake news.