In a significant move, the South African Minister of Home Affairs has announced the extension of the validity of exemption permits for Zimbabwean nationals for an additional 6 months, until December 31, 2023.
The decision comes as a response to the rising number of visa and waiver applications received from Zimbabwean nationals since September 2022.
The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has been overwhelmed with thousands of waiver applications, resulting in an increased workload for the Departmental Advisory Committee (DAC).
The Minister’s decision took into account the submissions from affected Zimbabwean nationals, officials from the DHA, and other concerned parties.
The Immigration Directive no: 2 of 2023, outlining the extension, will be officially published in the Extraordinary Government Gazette on Thursday, June 8, 2023.
The Minister has urged all interested parties to consider the Directive in their decision-making processes.
Furthermore, the Minister plans to send a letter to the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, requesting her to issue a note verbale to inform the Ambassador of the Republic of Zimbabwe about the Directive.
The extension of the exemption permits brings relief to Zimbabwean nationals who have been residing in South Africa for an extended period.
These permits grant them legal status to live, work, and access essential services such as healthcare and education.
The Minister’s decision is a positive step towards regularizing the status of Zimbabwean nationals in South Africa.
It is hoped that this extension will contribute to a more stable and secure environment for all South Africans.