Constitutional Court refuses Home Affairs leave to appeal Zimbabwe permit decision

In June 2023 the Pretoria High Court ruled that the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit was unlawfully terminated

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The Constitutional Court has dismissed an application by the Minister of Home Affairs for leave to appeal a High Court ruling that the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit programme was unlawfully terminated. Archive photo: Ciaran Ryan

The Constitutional Court has dismissed an application by the Minister of Home Affairs for leave to appeal a June 2023 Pretoria High Court ruling that the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) programme had been unlawfully terminated.

The court ordered that the minister must meaningfully consult with the 178,000 affected permit holders.

The matter was brought to court by the Helen Suzman Foundation which argued that the minister had not taken into account the profound impact of the termination of the ZEP programme on those who had been living and working in South Africa, legally, for more than a decade.

The Supreme Court of Appeal previously refused to entertain (then) Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi’s attempt to appeal the ruling.

The Constitutional Court this week similarly declined to hear arguments in the minister’s appeal.

In an unanimous decision, it simply refused leave to appeal, making no order as to costs.

In a statement this week the foundation said, “The June 2023 judgment was unequivocal in holding that the Minister is obliged to follow a fair consultation process, which duly considers the rights of those affected by terminating the ZEP, before he be lawfully allowed to do so.”

“The Constitutional Court’s order affirms with finality that this most basic of legal duties binds the Minister, notwithstanding changes in office that may occur once a new government is formed, when deciding the ZEP’s future,” the foundation said.

“It is a vital affirmation – for ZEP holders and South African citizens alike – that principles of fair hearing and rational government are indispensable to our constitutional democracy.”.

TOPICS:  Immigration Zimbabwe Permit

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Write a letter in response to this article


Dear Editor

I am one of the affected ZEP holders. I started the process in 2021, only to get a response last year in March. I submitted my general work visa last year march and to date every time I follow up, below is the typical response I get. They even checked via email if I was still employed by my company but that didn't help as I still have nothing to show. I have removed my name and reference number to protect my identity.

Dear [redacted]
Thank you for writing to the Department of Home Affairs.
We hereby acknowledge receipt of your e-mail with regards to the Temporary Residence Application, Reference number: [redacted].
Please note that we are still waiting for feedback from the relevant section. A follow up has been sent and we will revert back to you with an update.
Kind Regards,

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