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Zimbabweans living in South Africa might not be able to travel home for the holidays

Zimbabweans living in South Africa might not be able to travel home for the holidays


Mail & Guardian – 10 Dec 2021


Every year, at around this time, many of the hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans who live in South Africa make their way back home. Over the holiday period, families and friends reunite, and the country’s struggling economy gets a desperately needed influx of foreign currency.

Not this year, though. In a shock announcement, Zimbabwe’s government has effectively closed the border to ordinary travellers. According to spokesperson Nick Mangwana, anyone coming into Zimbabwe must quarantine in a hotel for 10 days — at their own expense. This emergency measure is designed to prevent the spread of the Omicron Covid-19 variant, he said.

It has thrown holiday plans into chaos, because few people can afford the time or the money to quarantine.

This is the second dose of bad news for Zimbabweans living in South Africa in a matter of weeks. Last month, South Africa’s government announced that it would not renew the Zimbabwean special permit at the end of this year. The permit was introduced in 2010 to legalise an influx of refugees — overwhelmingly ordinary people fleeing economic hardship and political persecution — and has allowed more than 200 000 Zimbabweans to live and work in South Africa.

Now, in what has been widely criticised as a populist decision, South Africa says they must go back to where they came from — and given them a grace period until the end of 2022 to do so.

This decision is likely to be challenged in court. “It’s impossible for anyone to do anything to migrate to a [different] permit in that time. It’s impractical,” advocate Simba Chitando told CapeTalk radio station.

Important news on the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit

Important news on the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit


The South African 10 December 2021

Zimbabwean nationals in South Africa with Zimbabwean Exemption Permits (ZEP) should note an important 0development regarding ZEPs.

Zimbabwean Exemption Permit. AdobeStock

The South African Government will no longer issue extensions to Zimbabwean citizens holding Zimbabwean Exemption Permits (ZEP). The South African Government announced the decision on the ZEPs at the end of November 2021.

All ZEPs will expire on 31 December 2021.


The good news is that the SA Government will grant a grace period of twelve months to all ZEP holders following the expiry of these permits on 31 December 2021.

ZEP holders thus have twelve months to regularise their stay in South Africa. ZEP holders can regularise their stay by finding alternative means to stay in South Africa legally by December 2022.

ZEP holders who cannot find alternative ways to stay legally in South Africa by December 2022 will have to leave South Africa or face deportation.


Companies, employers, learning institutions and banks must allow ZEP holders to continue their services.

However, ZEP holders must provide proof of application for a mainstream South African visa to such organisations. They must also submit a VFS receipt with their proof of application for a mainstream SA visa.


Zimbabwean nationals with a Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) can travel freely in and out of South Africa until 31 December 2022. However, when the grace period ends 31 December 2022, they will only be allowed to travel in and out of South Africa with a valid SA visa.

Home Affairs reopens its Cape Town refugee office it will have taken ten years

Home Affairs reopens its Cape Town refugee office it will have taken ten years

sami extra

09 December 2021- Groundup

Epping office expected to open in September 2022

Asylum seekers protest back in 2012 outside the original Cape Town Home Affairs’ refugee reception office in Maitland. Archive photo: Veronica Washaya

  • In its latest report to the High Court, Home Affairs says it now expects to reopen a refugee reception office in Cape Town in September 2022.
  • In a decision that the court found irrational and unreasonable, Home Affairs closed its office in 2012.
  • It has taken a protracted legal battle to get Home Affairs this far.
  • Currently refugees can only apply for asylum in Durban, Musina or Pretoria.

The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) says it will be almost another year before Cape Town gets a Refugee Reception Office once again.

As required by an order made in May by the Western Cape High Court, Home Affairs was reporting to the court on its progress for reopening a fully functional Cape Town Refugee Reception Office. It said it plans to open the new office at 16 Grenville Avenue, Epping Industrial, in September 2022.

By then it will have been ten years since Home Affairs closed the Cape Town refugee office in 2012. At the time, the High Court said the closure was unreasonable and irrational. Despite court orders to reopen an office, Home Affairs has never done so.

Home Affairs persisted with a long legal battle, until the Supreme Court of Appeal ordered the department to reopen the Cape Town office at the latest by 31 March 2018, and to provide monthly status reports on its progress.

Home Affairs sought leave to appeal from the Constitutional Court but this was refused.

Frustrated by Home Affairs’ continued lack of progress, the Legal Resources Centre (LRC) then applied to the Western Cape High Court for the appointment of a Special Master to oversee the reopening and to ensure Home Affairs complies with court orders.

The LRC, representing the Scalabrini Centre and the Somali Association of South Africa, had also wanted refugees and new applicants for asylum to be assisted by the department in Cape Town in the interim. This relief was not given.

The closure of the Refugee Reception Office meant refugees could only apply for asylum in Durban, Musina or Pretoria, and if they had originally applied at one of those offices they had to regularly travel and renew in person at the same office, even if they were living in Cape Town. The courts found the closure was unfairly penalising refugees.

But the High Court did not in the end appoint a Special Master, instead it ordered a case management process with Home Affairs required to file progress reports for discussion at monthly meetings with the judge, as well as the lawyers of Home Affairs and the LRC.

In the October progress report, Home Affairs confirmed that funding for the purchase price and installation of the office was in place. But additional funding is unavailable for filling managerial posts.

“The department’s budget committee must now consider whether currently available funds can be reallocated or whether officials may be seconded to the Refugee Reception Office from other posts,” Home Affairs reported.

“The existing project plan indicates that the landlord’s renovations will be completed on 3 May 2022. It will take approximately three to four months thereafter … to fit the offices out to its requirements,” the department said in the report.

ASYLUM SEEKERS PERMIT EXPIRED during LOCKDOWN – Don’t know what to do ?

ASYLUM SEEKERS PERMIT EXPIRED during LOCKDOWN – Don’t know what to do ?

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Apply Now for Temporary Residence even with EXPIRED LOCKDOWN PERMITS

The Constitutional Court handed down a judgement in the Ahmed matter as well as a Court Order opening the door for Asylum Seekers and Refugees to apply to change their status to  temporary residence visa . Contact us now before this fantastic opportunity is lost .

Contact us now and ask me HOW CHANGE TO TEMPORARY RESIDENCE . Travel abroad from South Africa , get a Canada , Schengen Visa afterwards .

Under the new rules they don’t have to cancel their asylum or refugee status and can change to any visa class if they qualify from within
South Africa

please contact us on :
Sa Migration International

Whatsapp  Tel No : +27 (0) 82 373 8415


Tel No office : +27 (0) 82 373 8415 ( Whatsapp )

Tel No admin : +27 (0) 64 126 3073
Tel No sales : +27 (0) 74 0366127
Fax No : 086 579 0155


South Africa Banks Threatening to Close Bank Accounts of 178,000 Zimbabweans Exemption Permit Holders Expiring Soon

South Africa Banks Threatening to Close Bank Accounts of 178,000 Zimbabweans Exemption Permit Holders Expiring Soon


06 December 2021 – 2021  – voazimbabwe

Some South African banks are threatening to freeze accounts of Special Zimbabweans Exemption Permit holders if they don’t provide new documents in January 2022.

One of the permit holders, who requested anonymity, said he received a notice from Capitec Bank informing him that his work permit is expected to expire and therefore he has to renew it in order to have an active bank account.

The letter reads in part, “… Your work permit expires in January. Visit your nearest branch with your new permit to keep your account active …”

In a message posted on YouTube, Ngqabutho Mabhena, chairperson of the Zimbabwe Community in South Africa, said his organization is engaging banks to ensure that ZEP holders’ accounts are not closed since all the permits expire at the end of this month.

“What we have already said is that we need to get clarity on whether the banks will not close down people’s accounts as a result of this 12-month grace period. Any government department will not refuse people entry or refuse to provide services to ZEP holders …”

The South African government decided last Friday to discontinue the ZEP program and give permit holders until December 31, 2022, to regularize their immigration status.

Fauci says US travel ban on South Africa should be rolled back ‘as quickly as possible’

Fauci says US travel ban on South Africa should be rolled back ‘as quickly as possible’

Business Insider – 06 Dec  2021

Flag-SAAU migration

On Monday, the US restricted travel from eight countries in southern Africa due to the new variant.

  • South Africa had an existing surveillance system for viral diseases that helped it detect Omicron.
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci said the Biden administration would have been criticised if a ban was not enacted.

On the latest episode of Spotify’s “Science Vs.” podcast, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, talked with host Wendy Zukerman about his views on the Biden administration’s recent travel ban, which he said should be rolled back.

The US began to restrict travel from eight countries in southern Africa on Monday because of the new Omicron coronavirus variant, which was labeled as a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organisation after its detection by South African scientists on 11 November.

However, the location of its initial detection does not necessarily indicate that the variant originated in South Africa. The country already had a robust surveillance system in place for tracking viral diseases and genetic mutations like HIV, Ebola, and tuberculosis, which put it in a strong position to monitor variants of Covid-19.

“When we first saw and heard about what was going on in South Africa, we really were blind. We had no idea what was going to happen. And one of the things we wanted to do, which was understandable, was to best as possible protect the American public,” Fauci told Zukerman.

While Omicron’s origins remain unknown, cases have been found in several countries, including the UK, US, Netherlands, and Belgium.

“We did not know it was in other countries at the time of the ban. It looked like it was just in South Africa,” Fauci said. “But right now, you’re right, it is out there, so it’s going to spread no matter what. So that’s the reason why I would feel that, hopefully, we can pull back on that ban as quickly as possible.”

Still, Fauci maintained that if a ban had not been instituted, people would have been upset and “crucified” the administration for its inaction.



Zimbabwe – quarantine for all arrivals

Zimbabwe – quarantine for all arrivals

Tourism Update – 3 December 2021

sami 4

New restriction for entry to Zimbabwe apply to all travellers and are effective immediately.

Vaccination does not feature in the regulations.

PCR testing at Robert Mugabe International Airport (Harare), Joshua Nkomo International Airport (Bulawayo) and Victoria Falls international Airport (Vic Falls) upon arrival is now mandatory, followed by a minimum quarantine period of 10 days.

The Health Ministry says it will establish airport PCR testing laboratories, and the PCR test will be done for a nominal fee, yet to be gazetted.

“All returning residents and visitors have to undergo PCR testing, and will be quarantined at own cost, even if they present negative PCR test results from elsewhere,” President Emmerson Mnangagwa stated in a live televised address on November 30.

Those who test negative must quarantine for 10 days at a site determined by the government, while those who test positive must quarantine for 14 days, a newly issued statutory instrument has now proclaimed.

Home quarantine is not permitted, according to a communication sent out by SAA. A list of quarantine centres will soon be published by the Zimbabwean Ministry of Health and Child Care (MOHCC).


PCR testing is not required for children under five years one month (61 months) old.

Travel News has had sight of a summary of the initial Cabinet briefing, which says that other exemptions to the requirement for PCR testing on arrival may only be issued by the Secretary of Health (for example, on the grounds of health or age), and there will be “official exemptions”.  These will include VIPs, diplomats and their families, envoys, and UN staff and their families. Official exemptions will have to quarantine at home.

Designated business travellers, for example those visiting the government, will be exempt from quarantine requirements (and proof thereof shall be required), said the summary.

It added that airline crew on night-stops (from airport of origin or in Zimbabwe) will be exempt. The 30-day validity period for each crew PCR HC is to be reviewed.

Concerning road transport, the summary said: “Measures for land borders remain unchanged. Essential goods drivers’ PCR HC validity is to be reviewed.”

Police to man quarantine centres

The summary said a list of quarantine centres would be published by the MOHCC. They will be lodges and hotels, who will provide transport (for the traveller’s account) to the quarantine centre hotel/lodge. Once tested, the traveller will proceed to their chosen quarantine centre, which may be pre-booked before arrival, or booked on arrival. Test results will be communicated to each person tested when results are ready.

The summary added: “People failing to afford quarantine accommodation and/or transport will be handed over to Government Social Welfare Department.

“Each quarantine centre will be manned by police,” said the summary. It added: “There are no new measures for tourists. These are yet to be published.

“Government is yet to come up with a plan on whether to secure passports during the entire duration of the quarantine or isolation and only release the passports at the end of such period.”

Additional new regulations in Zimbabwe include a curfew from 21h00-06h00, and admission to restaurants, licensed premises and nightclubs is restricted to those who provide proof of full vaccination.

SAA has confirmed that the carrier’s operations from Johannesburg to Harare are currently operating as per schedule.