South Africa grants 12-month grace period to immigrants


After refusing to renew the Zimbabwean Exemption Permits (ZEP) granted to Zimbabwean nationals, the South African Government has given holders of the permits 12 month grace period to legalize their stay in South Africa.

ZEP, held by about 182,000 Zimbabweans, excluded its holders from requirements of the immigration and refugee acts. The special permits expired at the end of 2021.

The Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi said Zimbabwean nationals must go and apply for other documents that may legalise them to stay in South Africa or else they will face deportation.

The grace period starts on 31 December 2021 and ends on 31 December 2022. It is clear that there will be mass deportation at the end of this year.

Last week, the minister paid a visit at Beitbridge border post where he observed that illegal foreign nationals are getting into South Africa using uncharted routes. Over 700 illegal immigrants were recently arrested trying to enter South Africa.

In Johannesburg, a bakkie carrying 14 illegal immigrants was impounded and the immigrants were arrested according to local media reports.

Thousands of people flock to South Africa for greener pasture. Data released in 2020 showed that 87 000 Malawians are living in South Africa.