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Zimbabweans warned to ignore false hope arising from HSF’s ZEP permits lawsuit

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Home Affairs Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, has warned Zimbabweans to ignore false hope arising from a lawsuit filed by Helen Suizman Foundation (HSF) challenging the cabinet’s decision to cancel the Zimbabwe Exemption Permits (ZEP).

The HSF launched a lawsuit against the SA government’s decision to cancel the Zimbabwean Exemption Permits bringing hope to ZEP holders who want to continue living in the country.

About 172 000 Zimbabwean nationals will be at the risk of deportation out of South Africa after the one-year grace period expires on 31 December 2022.

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HSF argues that there was no consultation from the government when the decision was made to cancel the permits. It’s also arguing that the decision is rushed and uninformed.

However, Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi dismissed the lawsuit, saying it is creating false hope for Zimbabweans.

In a statement, Motsoalidi slammed the foundation for going against the decision that the majority of South Africans have supported.

“South Africa is now under the dictatorship of some of the NGOs with some having faceless and dubious funders. Their ultimate aim is to assist in the dislodgement of government of the day from power by all means available.

“The decision of the Minister not to extend the exemptions granted to Zimbabwean nationals has been widely supported by South African citizens. The HSF, in its desperate bid to blackmail the nation, is twisting the support for the Minister’s decision by the majority of South African citizens as being “xenophobic”. Nothing could be further from the truth.

“The HSF access to the courts is guaranteed in the Constitution. However, this should not be a licence to abuse the Bill of Rights by some armchair critics, who have no idea of the sacrifices and deaths of many freedom fighters, while they sat in the comfort of their homes because of the colour of their skin. They now claim to be champions of the human rights of the African people in whole continent.

“The HSF is now conveniently playing the victim card by alleging that it is being threatened. We have no evidence of the alleged threat. If it is true, the Minister does not condone and strongly condemns such threats. On the contrary, it is public knowledge that the Minister was openly threatened after taking the decision. Death threats were issued against him publicly.

“The Minister and the Department of Home Affairs will vigorously defend the lawful, reasonable and rational decision of the Minister. We cannot be expected to throw up our hands in despair and fail the people of South Africa.”

“If HSF has the interests of Africans in the continent at heart, the Minister expects it to play its constructive role in assisting the affected Zimbabwean nationals to apply for one or the other visas provided for in the Immigration Act.

“The Minister calls upon all affected Zimbabwean nationals to ignore the false hope created by the HSF and adhere to the procedures outlined by the Department in various public notices and communication.”

Home Affairs Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi

Motsoaledi’s statement pours cold water on hopes that ZEP holders hopes that a court of law would force the government to change its decision.

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