The South African government has extended the validity of the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) granted to Zimbabwean nationals to the end of June 2023.
About 178 000 Zimbabweans are under the ZEP, which ended on 31 December 2021.
The South African government then issued a 12-month grace period to December 2022 for ZEP holders to either apply for another type of permit or leave the country.
According to the Department of Home Affairs (DHA), only about 6000 permit holders had approached the department seeking a waiver.
In a statement, Friday, Home Affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi the six-month reprieve was meant to afford the “affected Zimbabwean nationals another opportunity to apply for one or other visas and/or waivers provided for in the Immigration Act”.
After the expiry of the reprieve in June 2023, Motsoaledi said they will be no further extension.
“The DHA calls upon all the affected Zimbabweans nationals to make use of this window of opportunity and not wait for the last moment to lodge their applications as is the case now.”
As part of the reprieve, “no holder of the exemption may be arrested, ordered to depart or be detained for the purposes of deportation or deported…”
The permit holders are also allowed to enter or leave South Africa during the extension period.