On 24 November, Cabinet decided that it would not be renewing the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit ("ZEP"). The first Zimbabwean Special Dispensation started in 2009 and was extended in 2014 and 2017, but no further extensions will be made after 31 December 2021.
There will however be a 12-month grace period where ZEP holders can apply for other permits appropriate to their circumstances. Those who are not successful will have to leave the country or face deportation.
These visas allowed holders to work, study and conduct business in South Africa.
The decision will undoubtedly leave holders in an untenable situation as the vast majority are unlikely to qualify for work or other residence visas.
It is understood that ZEP holders will be challenging cabinet's decision and seeking relief through the courts.
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