Answer to a question from a reader

My Zimbabwean special permit was rejected on a technicality. I have appealed but it is taking a very long time. How can I speed up the process?

The short answer

Unfortunately the short answer is that there does not seem to be a way to compel Home Affairs to resolve matters urgently.

The whole question

I applied for my ZEP  permit in November 2017. It was rejected because of a technicality to do with my fingerprints and a withdrawn police case. After visiting the Midrand office I was inform that my appeal can take as long as six months. This is frustrating my life. Please can you help me resolve it urgently.

The long answer

Thank you for your email about whether your ZEP appeal process can be speeded up.

Please not we are a news agency, not the government, and we are not in any way responsible for the ZEP.

This must truly be a very frustrating process for you. Unfortunately the short answer is that there does not seem to be a way to compel Home Affairs to resolve matters urgently, as the courts have not ruled on how long a person must wait for the outcome of an appeal before the delay is considered unreasonable. But certainly the High court can rule that a delay is unreasonable.

VFS Global, which processes applications and appeals for Home Affairs, announced that all appeals would follow a revised online process effective from 29 January 2019. They say that you can only submit an appeal application once you’ve collected your previous application from the VFS application centre, and that this appeal has to be made within ten days of the date of collecting the rejected application. These appeals are made in terms of Section 8 (4) or 8 (6) of the Immigration Act, which in effect means you are saying that based on the documents you submitted in your application, the decision to reject your application is wrong and must be reversed. You can appeal once under 8(4) and if that is rejected, you can appeal once more under 8(6), and in that case the director general at Home Affairs must review the decision.

But Munyaradzi Nkomo, immigration specialist at Strategies Migration Services SA, also says that if the ZEP is rejected on the grounds of a negative police record, the applicant will be directed to the courts rather than the appeal process in Section 8 above, because only a judicial review can set aside the minister’s decision.

The grounds for a Judicial Review process are given in Section 6 of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act 3 of 2000 or (PAJA). These grounds include bias on the part of the administrator, an error of law, or because irrelevant considerations were taken into account, or relevant considerations were not considered.

You can contact the VFS call centre on 012 425 3000, or email, to ask where your appeal is up to.

You can also contact the Zimbabwe Dispensation Forum at


Answered on March 7, 2019, 12:38 p.m.

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