Home South African Motsoaledi grants two-year exemption for 54,000 Basotho and 178,000 Zimbabweans living in...

Motsoaledi grants two-year exemption for 54,000 Basotho and 178,000 Zimbabweans living in South Africa

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Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi has announced two-year exemptions for special dispensation permit-holders from neighbouring Lesotho, and Zimbabwean nationals living and working in South Africa.

Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi has granted two-year exemptions for Basotho and Zimbabwean nationals living in South Africa. File Picture: GCIS

HOME Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi has announced two-year exemptions for special dispensation permit-holders from neighbouring Lesotho, and Zimbabwean nationals living and working in South Africa.

The exemption will cater to more than 50,000 Basotho and 178,000 Zimbabweans who have migrated to South Africa.

“I have decided to grant exemptions to approximately 54,653 Lesotho nationals for a period of two years. The affected Lesotho nationals will be entitled to apply for new exemption permits under the following terms and conditions: a holder of the exemption permit will be entitled to work, seek employment, and conduct business in the Republic of South Africa; a holder of the exemption permit due to expire on December 31, 2023, or such an extended period of validity will be entitled to apply for a new exemption permit,” Motsoaledi addressed a media briefing in Tshwane.

A holder of the exemption permit will be entitled to sojourn in South Africa during the validity of the exemption permit.

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi conducts an operation at BeitBridge border. Photo Supplied

Motsoaledi said the new exemption permits to be issued for Basotho will expire on November 29, 2025.

“A holder of the exemption permit will not be entitled to apply for permanent residence in terms of sections 25, 26, and 27 of the Immigration Act 13 of 2002 or any other provisions in any other law, irrespective of the period of stay in the Republic of South Africa. New exemption permits will not be renewable. A holder of the exemption permit will be allowed freedom of movement between Lesotho and South Africa or any other country,” said the minister.

“A holder of the exemption permit cannot change his or her status in the Republic of South Africa as contemplated in Section 10(6) of the Immigration Act 13 of 2002 during the validity of the permit issued.

“When a holder of the exemption due to expire on December 31, 2023, or such an extended period apply for a new exemption permit, he or she must disclose and/or register all the minor children born and staying in the Republic of South Africa,” said Motsoaledi.

The minister also announced a reprieve for Zimbabwean nationals working in South Africa.

“I have decided to grant exemptions to approximately 178,000 Zimbabwean nationals for a period of two years in terms of Section 31(2)(b) of the Immigration Act 13 of 2002. The affected Zimbabwean nationals will be entitled to apply for new exemption permits under the following terms and conditions: a holder of the exemption permit will be entitled to work, seek employment, and conduct business in the Republic of South Africa; a holder of the exemption permit due to expire on December 31, 2023, or June 20, 2024, and such an extended period of validity will be entitled to apply for a new exemption permit,” said Motsoaledi.

“A holder of the exemption permit will be entitled to sojourn in the Republic of South Africa during the validity of the exemption permit; exemption permits to be issued will expire on November 29, 2025.

“A holder of the exemption permit will not be entitled to apply for permanent residence in terms of sections 25, 26, and 27 of the Immigration Act 13 of 2002 or any other provisions in any other law, irrespective of the period of stay in the Republic of South Africa, and the exemption permits will not be renewable,” said Motsoaledi.

The minister said a holder of the exemption permit will be allowed freedom of movement between Zimbabwe and South Africa, or any other country.

“A holder of the exemption permit cannot change his or her status in the Republic of South Africa as contemplated in Section 10(6) of the Immigration Act 13 of 2002 during the validity of the permit issued,” said Motsoaledi.

Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi has granted two-year exemptions for Basotho and Zimbabwean nationals living in South Africa. File Picture: Timothy Bernard / Independent Newspapers

“When a holder of the exemption due to expire on December 31, 2023, or June 28, 2024, or such extended period, applies for a new exemption permit, he or she must disclose and/or register all the minor children born and staying in the Republic of South Africa.”

Earlier this year, the High Court in Pretoria, which deemed Home Affairs’ decision not to extend the Zimbabwe Exemption Permits (ZEP) as unconstitutional, effectively gave the permit holders a further 12 months to work and live in the country.

The court set aside Motsoaledi’s decision, providing further relief to ZEP-holders after the department had extended the permits until December 2023.

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