Concourt dismisses Motsoaledi’s application to terminate the ZEP

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. File picture: Oupa Mokoena / Independent Newspapers

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. File picture: Oupa Mokoena / Independent Newspapers

Published Jun 21, 2024


Cape Town - The Department of Home Affairs has lost its final appeal to deport 178 000 Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) holders, after the Constitutional Court held that Minister Aaron Motsoaledi failed to adequately consult the affected persons.

Motsoaledi’s defeat this week comes after the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria declared in June last year, that his decision to terminate the ZEP was unlawful, unconstitutional, and invalid.

The ZEP is a special permit that grants its holders and their children temporary legal status to live, work, and study in South Africa.

It was introduced by the government to cope with the influx of undocumented Zimbabweans.

Motsoaledi was challenged by the Helen Suzman Foundation, which argued that ZEP holders, who have lived in South Africa legally for almost 15 years, are entitled to a fair process, due consultation, and clear reasons.

The foundation has always held that Motsoaledi’s decision was based on, among other things, making a decision without consulting the public or ZEP holders, which deprived all of the protection afforded to them in terms of the Constitution.

In a statement, the foundation said the Constitutional Court’s order affirms with finality that the most basic of legal duties also binds the minister.

“That June 2023 judgment was unequivocal in holding that the minister is obliged to follow a fair consultation process, which duly considers the rights of those affected by terminating the ZEP, before he be lawfully allowed to do so

“It is a vital affirmation for ZEP holders and South African citizens alike that principles of fair hearing and rational government are indispensable to our constitutional democracy,” said the foundation.

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