Truck drivers who are Zimbabwe Exemption Permit (ZEP) holders are currently being denied access to national ports after they woke up to find their port access cards blocked.
Reports emerged from Cape Town and Richards Bay ports where the Zimbabwean drivers were refused entry.
Transnet has requested that the ZEP Holders produce a valid application reference number from the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) which shows that they have applied for a new permit.
However, this is contrary to the announcement by the DHA which states that nothing has changed to the ZEP status due to the 12 month grace period ending on 31 December 2022.
The requirement by TNPA for ZEP holders to produce a receipt as proof they have applied for another permit to get access to national ports was contained in Immigration Directive 10 of 2021 which was withdrawn in Immigration Directive 11 of 2021 issued by the DHA Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi on the 13th of December 2021.
In withdrawing Immigration Directive 10 of 2021 the minister stated that the status of the ZEP holders would not change after the expiry of their permits until 31 December 2022.
During an interview on Radio 702, a ZEP holder asked Motsoaledi what they were supposed to do if any office they are dealing with demanded proof they were still legally dealing with them. Motsoaledi responded saying, the status for the ZEP permit has not changed and those dealing with ZEP holders may continue as normal.
“Those who have problems with ZEP holders should contact us and we will tell them exactly that,” Motsoaledi said.
In a correspondence with a stakeholder seen by this reporter Cape Town Port Security Manager, Arshaad Fester wrote;
The 12 months is to allow the ZEP permit holders to apply for the correct visas. No actions will be taken by immigration during this period, but we will only extend cards on production of a valid application ref number.
This reporter spoke to Fester asking him why TNPA blocked access cards for ZEP holders and he cited the requirements mentioned in the Immigration Directive 10, when the reporter explained to him that the directive was nullified and showed him the proof he replied, “you should direct your enquiries to Home Affairs.”
It is clear that TNPA is misinformed on the announcements by the DHA, one hopes that they keep in touch with developments at the DHA to avoid such inconveniences.
SA Trucker published an explainer highlighting the effects of the DHA Immigration Directive 11 of 2021 which rendered Immigration Directive 10 of 2021, you can read it here.