PRETORIA, South Africa’s Pretoria High Court is set to decide the fate of around 160,000 Zimbabwean nationals who have been living and working in the country under the Zimbabwe Extension Permit (ZEP) scheme, after the South African government announced last year that there would be no extension to their permits. The permits, which are due to expire in June 2023, allow Zimbabweans to work and live in South Africa legally. The Zimbabwean Exemption Permit Holders Association (ZEPHA) estimates that each permit holder has an average of three to four dependents, which puts the number of those affected at close to two million.

ZEPHA and other groups, including the Helen Suzman Foundation and the Zimbabwe Immigration Federation Consortium for Refugees, have challenged the government’s decision, arguing that the non-renewal of permits would have negative consequences for the economy and would cause trauma and pain to people who legally sought a better life for themselves and their families.

The hospitality sector, one of the largest employers of ZEP permit holders in the country, has also voiced concerns, stating that the non-renewal of permits would have negative consequences for the industry. Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has repeatedly stated that there will be no further extension, adding that his department has informed permit holders through letters, SMS and the department’s website.

The ZEP holders are now pinning their hopes on the country’s judicial system, with the ruling expected on Today. The migrants are seen as fighting a David vs Goliath battle, with the South African government on the opposite side. Many of the migrants are worried about what lies ahead for them and their families.

Source: MasimbaNews ✍🏿

By Power

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