RIT Reflection: Reflections on the Discontinued Zimbabwe Exemption Permit (ZEP) in South Africa

By Barnabas Ticha Muvhiti

Here in South Africa, I am one of approximately 180,000 holders of the Zimbabwe Exemption Permit (ZEP). In November 2021, the South African government announced it would not renew the ZEP at the end of 2021, instead giving Zimbabweans who held a ZEP a ‘grace period’ of one year to apply for mainstream permits from the Department of Home Affairs (DHA). The decision caught us unawares and renewed or reinforced our sense of limbo and instability. In this article I reflect on the situation and describe the mixed reactions of fellow Zimbabweans. As a ZEP holder, my feelings and views are not necessarily those of others or representative of others in this group. I have tried to incorporate other Zimbabweans’ views expressed on social media platforms and in the mainstream media. I employ Shona adjectives for subheadings. Shona is my first language and is spoken by the majority of Zimbabwe’s 15 million people.

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