The Home Affairs Minister of South Africa, Aaron Motsoaledi, has announced a two-year extension of exemption permits for Lesotho and Zimbabwean nationals residing in the country.
The Lesotho Exemption Permit (LEP) for around 54,653 holders and the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) for about 178,000 holders were initially set to expire on December 31, 2023. The decision to extend the permits until the end of 2025 was made under Section 31(2)(b) of the Immigration Act, granting the minister wide powers in special circumstances.
The new permits will be published in the government gazette, allowing holders to work, study, or conduct business legally in South Africa, and will expire on November 29, 2025. This move follows a legal challenge to the termination of the ZEP, with Motsoaledi appealing a court ruling that deemed the termination illegal and unconstitutional. The minister emphasized the need for consistency in the treatment of Zimbabwean and Lesotho nationals in such matters.
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