The South African government has extended the validity of Zimbabwean Exemption Permits which were expiring on June 30, by a further six months, to December 31, 2023.
This allows scores of affected Zimbabwean immigrants in South Africa to switch to regular visas.
In a statement issued Wednesday, Home Affairs Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, said he has extended the permits with effect from June 30, 2023, for a further six months “in order to allow the holders thereof to apply for one or other visas and waivers provided for in the Immigration Act.
“I, Dr PA Motsoaledi, MP, Minister of Home Affairs having, with the powers bestowed upon me in terms of section 31(2)(b), read with section 31(2)(d) of the Immigration Act, decided to extend the validity of Zimbabwean exemption permits issued to Zimbabwean nationals for a further period of 6 months in order to allow the holders thereof to apply for one or other visas and waivers provided for in the Immigration Act, (read with Immigration Regulations, 2014) that they may qualify for, hereby direct that this decision should be implemented as follows, during the further 6 months’ period, starting from 30 June 2023 and ending 31 December 2023,” he said.
Dr Motsoaledi said no holder of a valid exemption permit may be arrested, ordered to depart or be detained for purposes of deportation or deported in terms of section 34 of the Immigration Act for any reason related to him or her not having any valid exemption certificate, that is permit label or sticker in his or her passport.
“The holder of a valid exemption permit may not be dealt with in terms of sections 29, 30 and 32 of the Immigration Act. The holder of a valid exemption permit may be allowed to enter into or depart from the Republic of South Africa in terms of section 9 of the Act, read together with the Immigration Regulations, 2014, provided that he or she complies with all other requirements for entry into and departure from the Republic, save for the reason of having an expired exemption permit indicated in his or her passport,” he said.
“No holder of exemption should be required to produce a valid exemption certificate/permit or an authorisation letter to remain in the Republic contemplated in section 32(2) of the Immigration Act when making an application for any category of the visas, including temporary residence visa.”