Here is why the ZEP was extended, it's not lawsuits against the home affairs ministry

Home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi has given the real reasons why the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) was extended and it’s not due to the popular belief that he was pressured by the ongoing lawsuit against the ministry.

Motsoaledi said the advisory committee recommended the December deadline was impossible and more time had to be given.

“They simply said the amount of work that is awaiting them, seeing especially that out of the 178,000 people that applied, only 4,000 applied for visas and 9,000 applied for waivers.

“When they start coming in and looking at how many hours they need for each, their calculation brought them to the belief that they need six months and in the remaining three months it won’t happen,” said Motsoaledi.

The ZEP was initially meant to be terminated at the end of December but Motsoaledi extended the validity of the ZEP for another six months to June 30 2023.

The extension has been met with mixed reaction from many, including Operation Dudula and ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba.

Speaking on 702, Motsoaledi said his decision to extend the ZEP had nothing to do with the court cases against the ministry brought by various organisations, including the Helen Suzman Foundation

Motsoaledi said the court battles are ongoing.

“We are sitting next month. These extensions are still going ahead and we are still preparing. We are defending every inch of our decision,” he said.

A ‘mockery’ of SA’s constitutional democracy

Mashaba said the extension of ZEPs is a “mockery” of SA’s constitutional democracy.

“This indicates illegal immigration is not a priority for the home affairs ministry and poses a risk of a continued squeeze on our healthcare and social services,” he said.

Read also: DHA calls on Zimbabweans to apply for new work permits to continue staying legally

Mashaba said the extension further chips away at the autonomy of the state and its function, especially in managing the country’s borders.

He said the immigration act is clear that “SA belongs to South Africans”, and anyone who wishes to visit the country may do so provided they follow the correct channels and observe the country’s immigration laws.

“Our immigration act is very clear on how to deal with this type of influx of immigration, and especially on illegal immigration. We are of the view that no political will exists to deal decisively with this endemic problem in SA.

“Home affairs should send a clear message to anyone entering our borders that SA is a sovereign country with its own laws which must be obeyed and adhered to, failure of which carries an appropriate sanction,” said Mashaba.

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