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South Africa Withdraws Immigration Directive on ZEP Permits

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The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has withdrawn the Immigration Directive No 10 of 2021 on ZEP permits that it issued on November 29.

DHA Director-General Livhuwani Tommy Makhode issued Immigration Directive 10 which outlined how officials and businesses should deal with holders of the expiring ZEP permits during the 12-month grace period.

The directive also addressed travel conditions for the ZEP holders during the 12-month grace period.

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The directives, in part, were as follows:

All Companies, Employers, Learning Institutes and Banks are to kindly note that applicants who are in possession of a ZEP expiring on 31 December 2021 must be allowed to continue with their services, provided they submit proof of application for a mainstream visa in terms of the Immigration Act and Immigration Regulations. Proof of application must be a VFS receipt.

Travel Conditions:
All applicants with a ZEP must be allowed to travel freely in and out of South Africa until 31 December 2022, when the 12 (twelve) month grace period ends, after which they will only be allowed to travel in and out of South Africa if in possession of a valid visa.

On December 13, the DHA published Directive No 11 of 2021 withdrawing the Immigration Directive No 10 on ZEP holders.

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Zimbabwe Exemption Permit (ZEP) Immigration Directive Withdrawn

Please note that Immigration Directive No.10 of 2021 is withdrawn. The contents of this immigration directive should be brought to the attention of all officials and applicants concerned. This Immigration Directive follows on from Immigration Directive No.10 of 2021 which deals with: ZIMBABWEAN EXEMPTION LICENSE HOLDERS (ZEP)

Immigration Directive No 11 of 2021 renders null and void the contents of Immigration Notice No 10.

Read also: NBCRFLI Explains Implications of the Continued Employment of ZEP Holders

ZEP Holders were left worried and confused after the withdrawal of directive 10 which they thought outlined their relationship with businesses.

DHA Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi during an interview on SAFM explained that if any business or institution has problems with the ZEP permits they should contact them and they would tell them they are still valid.

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Minister Motsoaledi said that the ZEP will still be recognised as valid after the 31st of December after being approved by the cabinet.


Some media reports stated that the SA government had withdrawn its directive requiring those with Zimbabwean Exemption Permits to apply for ‘mainstream’ visas which are incorrect.

It was reported in several news articles that the SA government had dumped its decision not to extend the ZEP.

Articles based on the misinterpretation of the DHA Immigration Directive No 11 quickly went viral online, giving false hope to ZEP holders who thought they would now be able to renew their permits.

Immigration Directive 11 of 2021 dealt with the contents of Immigration Directive 10 of 2021 focusing on paragraphs 3 and 4 which addressed organisations and travel conditions.

The directive does not nullify the decision by the cabinet to not issue any special permits to ZEP holders after 31 December 2021. The grace period of 12 months still stands with conditions as listed on the cabinet decision, not any other directive.

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