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By Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Digital Deputy News Editor

Constitutional Court rules against Motsoaledi in ZEP matter

Motsoaledi failed to consult ZEP holders before terminating the permit.

The Constitutional Court (ConCourt) has ruled that Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi unlawfully terminated the Zimbabwean Exemption Permits (ZEP).

Motsoaledi approached the apex court following his loss against the Helen Suzman Foundation at the SCA in February.

The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) on Thursday found that there were no reasonable prospects of success in an appeal.

ALSO READ: SCA grants Motsoaledi leave to appeal ZEP matter

“The Constitutional Court has considered the application for leave to appeal. It has concluded that the application should be dismissed as it bears no reasonable prospects of success. The court has decided not to award costs,” reads the ruling.

ZEP unlawfully terminated

Motsoaledi’s legal battle started in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria in June last year. The court found that Motsoaledi had failed to consult with ZEP holders.

The ZEP has allowed Zimbabweans to live, work and study in South Africa since 2009. This as part of the Dispensation of Zimbabweans Project.

ALSO READ: Motsoaledi turns to Supreme Court in ZEP fight

The court also ruled that the ZEP would remain valid until 28 June 2024 for the conclusion of a fair public participation process.

However, in December last year, Motsoaledi granted at least 178 000 Zimbabweans exemption permits until 29 November 2025.

The conditions of the extension of the ZEP mean that the Zimbabweans will be allowed to work, seek employment and conduct business in South Africa during the period of validity or to apply for a new permit.

ALSO READ: SCA delivers blow to Home Affairs in ZEP appeal

No holder of a valid exemption permit may be arrested, ordered to depart or be detained for purposes of deportation or deported for any reason related to them not having any valid exemption certificate, reads the department’s directive.

The Helen Suzman Foundation has welcomed the ConCourt’s ruling on ZEPs.

“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,” it said.

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

NOW READ: Motsoaledi grants 178 000 Zimbabweans, 54 653 Basotho two-year exemption permits

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