In a landmark ruling on June 28, 2023, the Pretoria High Court declared the decision by the South African government to terminate the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) unlawful, unconstitutional, and invalid. The court ordered the government to reconsider the issue “following a fair process” that complies with the relevant laws. Zimbabwe Exemption Permit Court Case:
How did Zimbabwe Exemption Permit Court Case started?
The ZEP was a special permit that allowed Zimbabwean nationals who had entered South Africa before 2009 to live and work in the country legally. The permit was introduced in 2009 in response to the political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe.
In 2021, the South African government announced that it would be terminating the ZEP program. The government said that the program was no longer necessary, as the political and economic situation in Zimbabwe had improved. However, critics of the decision argued that it would be unfair to the 178,000 Zimbabweans who held ZEPs.
Latest Zimbabwe Exemption Permit Court ruling
The Helen Suzman Foundation and the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa challenged the government’s decision in court. The two organizations argued that the decision was unlawful, as it had been made without proper consultation with the affected parties. They also argued that the decision was unconstitutional, as it violated the right to freedom of movement and the right to family life.
In its ruling, the court found that the government had indeed failed to properly consult with the affected parties before making the decision to terminate the ZEP program. The court also found that the decision was unconstitutional, as it violated the right to freedom of movement and the right to family life.
Zimbabwe Exemption Permit Court Case victory
The court’s ruling is a victory for Zimbabwean migrants in South Africa. It sends a clear message that the government cannot arbitrarily terminate the permits of migrants without proper consultation and without taking into account their human rights.
The ruling also has implications for other countries in the region. It shows that migrants have the right to challenge the decisions of their host governments in court, and that they can be successful in doing so.
Future of Zimbabwe Exemption Permit
The future of the ZEP program is still uncertain. The government has not yet said whether it will appeal the court’s ruling. However, the ruling has created a legal precedent that will make it more difficult for the government to terminate the program in the future.
The court’s ruling is a welcome development for migrants in South Africa. It is a reminder that migrants have rights, and that they can challenge the decisions of their host governments in court. The ruling is also a victory for the rule of law in South Africa. It shows that the courts are willing to protect the rights of migrants, even when the government is not.
What happens next?
The government has not yet said whether it will appeal the court’s ruling. If it does not appeal, the ruling will become final and the ZEP program will remain in place. However, if the government does appeal, the case will go to the Supreme Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court of Appeal will then decide whether to uphold the lower court’s ruling or to overturn it.
In the meantime, the ZEP remains valid for the time being. Zimbabwean nationals who hold ZEPs can continue to live and work in South Africa and . However, the future of the program is uncertain. It is possible that the government will decide to terminate the program even after the court’s ruling. However, it is also possible that the government will find a way to keep the program in place.
Only time will tell what will happen next. However, the court’s ruling has given hope to Zimbabwean nationals who hold ZEPs. It has shown that they have rights, and that they can challenge the decisions of the government.