Answer to a question from a reader

Can Zimbabwean Exemption Permits be renewed yet?

The short answer

Unfortunately, Home Affairs has not communicated what will happen when the ZEPs expire on 31 December 2021.

The whole question

Dear Athalie

My daughter's entire education has been in South Africa. She is currently in her first year at university and has even qualified for a scholarship. Unfortunately, her Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) expires on 31 December 2021 and the scholarship told her that they cannot fund her next year if she doesn't sort out her permit. 

How can she renew it? Does she have to travel back to Zimbabwe to sort out her paperwork? I've tried calling the VFS in Harare but apparently, they are closed due to Covid-19. 

The long answer

Regrettably, there is still no clarity from Home Affairs as to what happens after 31 December 2021. As matters stand, ZEPs will not be renewable after 31 December 2021. 
The last pronouncement on ZEP from Home Affairs Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, was in October 2019, when he said: “Unfortunately the Zimbabwean permit was for four years and the situation never became normal in those four years. We will renew, but we can’t automatically as the department. We have got to discuss with the Cabinet.”
So, at this stage, although Motosaledi seems to be saying that they will renew the ZEP following discussion with the Cabinet, there is no evidence of such discussions taking place currently.
I’m afraid there is very little your daughter can do to sort out her permit until the government announces a decision. A most frustrating situation for her. All she can do is to explain the situation to the scholarship funders and ask them to be patient if they can until the government makes their move. 

Wishing you the best,

Answered on May 14, 2021, 1:23 p.m.

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