Advocate Simba Chitando is a Zimbabwean born lawyer practising in South Africa.
Roughly 13 years ago, South Africa introduced the Zimbabwe Exemption Permit (ZEP). It allowed Zimbabweans to work and live in the country.
Also known as the Special Dispensation Permit, it required all Zimbabweans, whether in South Africa legally or not, to come forward and authenticate their stay.
More than 200,000 Zimbabweans complied.
Lester Kiewit interviews Zimbabwean Khanyile Mlotshwa, a PhD candidate at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, to get his opinion on the matter.
Last year, the South African government announced that the ZEP would expire on 31 December 2021. That deadline was later extended to the end of 2022.
In other words, from January 2023, thousands of legal immigrants from Zimbabwe – official ZEP holders – will no longer be allowed to live in South Africa. They will either be deported, or they’ll have to accept the risks that come with being undocumented.
Many people in Zimbabwe depend on remittances from South Africa to make ends meet; how do Zimbabweans who still live in their country feel about the upcoming expiration of the ZEP?