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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Motsoaledi is lying, we have not withdrawn our legal challenge, ZEP lawyer

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Zimbabwe Exemption Permit Holders Association (ZEPHA) lawyer Advocate Simba Chitando has dismissed claims by Home Affairs Minister Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi that the organisation has withdrawn its legal challenge to the cabinet’s decision to not renew ZEP permits.

ZEPHA described South Africa’s decision to terminate the permits as the biggest fraud by an African government against citizens from a neighbouring country.

Chitando said the only party that had withdrawn its case was African Amity NPC and this was because of intimidation which he also says he has faced from the minister.

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Chitando was responding to the Home Affairs Ministry’s statement on Friday suggesting that the legal attempt to stop the deportation of over 178 000 Zimbabweans had fallen flat.

The statement read:

The Department of Home Affairs welcomes the withdrawal of the application filed in court by African Amity NPC and Zimbabwe Permit Holders Association under case no. 51735/21 on 14 June 2022.

The matter involved the challenge in court of the decision of the Minister of Home Affairs not to extend the exemptions granted to Zimbabweans. Sense seems to have prevailed – and the department’s doors are always open for constructive engagement with Zimbabwean nationals.

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“It’s false that we have withdrawn our case. The minister was served replying papers this week he is well aware and his lawyers are aware that we are continuing with this matter. The only party that has withdrawn is the African Amity, which is one of the other organisations.

“That’s an NPC which was involved in the case.

Intimidation

“They’ve withdrawn because of intimidation.

“The lawyers, myself included have been intimidated and we believe that the press statement by the minister saying we have withdrawn is deliberate and unfortunate, it’s wrong,” said Chitando.

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“We also believe that the reason why he is saying that we have withdrawn his because the evidence in the case suggests that millions of rands which Zimbabwe exemption permit holders have paid has gone missing.

Read also: DHA welcomes withdrawal of challenge to have ZEP permits decision reversed

“The record of the court papers is damning.

“The minister is in a lot of trouble.

“The Department of Home Affairs is in a lot of trouble to explain what has happened to all the money that’s been paid to the Department of Home Affairs saying that we have withdrawn the case does not excuse him from the case.

“You cannot run away from this case.

“We are proceeding to apply for a court date very soon and we will ask that the case be expedited.

“We’re also working with several other organisations.

“We’re all aware that the Helen Suzman Foundation has also filed a court case of its own and this statement from the minister is to be ready in the light of what is taking place. He is under pressure and he’s sending out false press statements and he needs to be held to account for that,” Chitando added.

He said that Home Affairs built its case on the allegation that ZEP holders are an expense to the state which is not true.

“We know for a fact that every ZEP holder has paid in the case of the DZP R890 per applicant regardless of whether their application was successful or not.

“We’re talking about hundreds of millions of rands, what happened to that money,” Chitando asked.

“For the ZSP applicants paid R1100 and then the ZEP money which the minister cannot account for

“Why does the minister say there is no money for processing the permits yet the people have paid hundreds of millions of rands,” Chitando said.

The Zimbabwe Exemption Permit was given to 178 000 Zimbabweans who fled the country over a decade ago.

They were welcomed in under the special ZEP route. However, Aaron Motsoaledi is determined on repealing this permit and wants all Zimbabweans on these visas to reapply for residency through Home Affairs which many do not qualify for.

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