Helen Suzman Foundation launches application to protect ZEP holders

The ZEP is set to expire at the end of June 2024.

The Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) has launched a court application against home affairs minister, Aaron Motsoaledi, to protect Zimbabwe Exemption Permits (ZEP) holders pending the conclusion of government appeal process.

In June, the Pretoria High Court declared Motsoaledi’s decision to terminate the ZEP unlawful, unconstitutional, and invalid. The ZEP is set to expire at the end of June 2024.

However, Motsoaledi seeks now to appeal that judgment. 

“We don’t make noise when we conduct law enforcement operations. We move in and deport people. We’ll be going to many other communities and deport those who are here illegally,” he said. 

READ MORE: ‘Zimbabweans still enjoy freedom of movement’: Home Affairs to appeal ZEP judgments

However, the foundation’s executive director Nicole Fritz said the foundation’s application was to safeguard the integrity of the judgment. 

“In the ordinary course, the leave to appeal process suspends the operation of the underlying order. In this case, the risk arises that the expiry date of the ZEP could be run down by running out the appeal process, meaning that there would be no real relief to be granted ZEP holders if that is the Courts’ ultimate determination,” said Fritz.

Fritz said the foundation asked the minister to agree to observe the protections extended to ZEP holders pending the conclusion of the appeal process but he refused. 

“It is on this basis that HSF approaches the court,” she said. 

“Shadowy organisations now seek deliberately to misrepresent the HSF’s application – misrepresentations that began circulating online, surprisingly, less than one day after HSF had filed its papers with the parties.”

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Fritz said the misrepresentations were more than mischievous, claiming they were to endanger the staff of the foundation.

“These blatant misrepresentations come hard on the heels of incendiary attempts to heap the blame for last week’s devastating fire in Johannesburg’s city centre, in which so many died and were injured, not on those truly responsible but absurdly on NGOs. 

“No one should have to be reminded of the role that NGOs have played in this country in securing rights and fighting against corruption and malfeasance. Coordinated attempts to discredit NGOs and erode the public’s trust through lies and misrepresentation are an attack on democracy itself,” she said. 

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