Tue. May 17th, 2022

We Never Reversed Decision To Send Zimbabweans Back: SA Home Affairs Minister Clarifies

We Never Reversed Decision To Send Zimbabweans Back: SA Home Affairs Minister Clarifies

South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs has refuted reports that it has reversed its decision to send Zimbabweans back home by ending the Zimbabwe Exemption Permits (ZEP).

There has been confusion in recent days over a Cabinet decision which resolved that Zimbabwe Exemption Permits (ZEP) would not be renewed. Over 200 000 Zimbabweans who hold special visas which had allowed them to stay in South Africa since 2009 find themselves in a sticky situation after South Africa’s Cabinet issued a statement saying the special permits, which expire on 31 December 2021, will not be renewed.

The Cabinet also announced a 12-month grace period for ZEP holders to apply for other permits that suit their circumstances and threatened to deport those who fail to do so.

However, following reports that the government had reversed the decision, Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi clarified that the initial decision still stands. He added that the government only revoked a circular instructing banks to close down bank accounts.

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In an interview with the Independent Media on Tuesday, Motsoaledi said,

“Absolutely, that Cabinet decision stands. Absolutely.”

“It is true, the confusion erupted from the department, from officials in the department. They issued a circular purporting to clarify a Cabinet decision. The Cabinet decision is very clear: it does not need any circular to clarify it. What has been withdrawn, and I think what caused the confusion now, yesterday (Monday), I instructed that the circular be withdrawn – because I don’t see any purpose it is serving.”

“That circular was not even supposed to be issued. It was serving no purpose but just causing confusion. The Cabinet decision was clear. It was outlined by the Minister in the Presidency (Mondli) Gungubele on what the decision was about. Matters should have rested there, and they indeed must rest there.”

In another interview, Motsoaledi stressed,

“There should not be any impression that the decision about terminating the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit and then giving them a 12 month grace period to apply for other statuses, the is no withdrawal of that decision.”

“…The initial decision to end the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit has not changed.”

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