Pretoria – Zimbabweans living in South Africa can breathe a sigh of relief after Home Affairs Minister Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi on Wednesday extended the exemption permits for another six months.
The Zimbabwe Exemption Permits had previously been extended to the end of June 2023 while the matter was being contested in court.
Late Wednesday, the SA Department of Home Affairs said, the Minister decided to issue another Immigration Directive, “extending the validity of Zimbabwean Exemption Permits for a further period of six months, ending on 31 December 2023”.
The department said Dr. Motsoaledi took into consideration several factors, including – to a certain extent – submissions received from the affected Zimbabwean nationals, relevant officials of home affairs, and other interested parties.
“As you are aware, the Minister of Home Affairs issued a directive in September 2022, extending the validity of exemption permits issued to the Zimbabwean nationals to 30 June 2023,” the department said.
Since that time, significant developments have taken place.
“The Minister has approved thousands of waiver applications of the affected Zimbabwean nationals,” the department said.
“This has resulted in a significant increase in the number of visa and waiver applications.
“The Departmental Advisory Committee led by Dr. Cassius Lubisi is now dealing with the increased number of visa applications.”
The department said the Minister was equally considering and approving waiver applications daily.
“Unlike before since May/beginning of June 2023, VFS Global is now receiving between 1 000 – 1 500 visa and waiver applications of the affected Zimbabwean nationals daily,” said the department.
“For these reasons, the Director-General has deployed more officials to assist in the processing of the applications.”