Reitumetse Makwea

By Reitumetse Makwea


Home affairs decision ‘makes you wonder what SA really owes Zimbabwe’

'Why do we always backtrack on our laws when it comes to Zimbabwe?'

The home affairs department’s decision to extend the period for Zimbabwe Exemption Permit (ZEP) applications until December was met with mixed emotions, with some organisations calling for the decision to be scrapped.

Yesterday Minister Aaron Motsoaledi announced that, due to the large influx of applications, the department decided to extend the validity of the permits from 30 June to 31 December.

SA owes Zimbabwe?

Organisations that were at the forefront in support of Motsoaledi’s initial decision were seemingly disappointed by his latest decision, with a member of the Put South Africans First movement Thato Mahlangu saying this failure to implement solid laws was fuelling xenophobia and violence.

ALSO READ: Home Affairs extends ZEP deadline again due to ‘significant developments’

“South Africans desperately need the government to make a clear decision and take a clear stance on these issues.”

“It makes you wonder what SA really owes Zimbabwe. Why do we always backtrack on our laws when it comes to Zimbabwe? One would even think that they are benefitting for whatever is happening in that country,” he said.

Migrant activist Sharon Ekambaram said the department has to be called to account.

ALSO READ: Home Affairs extends Zimbabwean Exemption Permits to June 2023

“It is shocking how the minister appears to be playing with people’s lives; the lives of black African people. What is the state of the White Paper on International Migration released in 2017?” she asked.


Ekambaram said the “continued extensions for short periods of time” translated to mismanagement.

“This is cruel and heartless. We must be reminded that we are talking about human beings and lives that will be severely impacted by erratic decision-making.

“It is a direct consequence of using the movement of people and migration as a political football – and bowing down to backwardness of populism. At worst, it shows contempt for the core values of our constitution.”

ALSO READ: Motsoaledi: If you know you don’t qualify to be in a country, why stay?

Motsoaledi said they would issue an updated immigration directive for the border posts.

“It’s just like the previous one, except the dates… The directive informs people at various areas of home affairs, borders, at airports, etc, to be aware of this and not trouble people to be aware that their visas have been extended.”