Motsoaledi extends validity of Zim, Lesotho exemption permits

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has extended the validity of the Zimbabwean exemption permit (ZEP) and Lesotho exemption permit for an additional two years.

Motsoaledi announced the extension during a media briefing on Friday.

He explained that the permits allow holders to work, seek employment, and conduct business in the country.

Notably, Motsoaledi said, the new exemption permits will not be renewable, and holders will not be entitled to apply for permanent residence during the validity period.

“New exemption permits to be issued will expire on 29 November 2025,” he said.

“A holder of the exemption permit will not be entitled to apply for permanent residence in terms of sections 25, 26 and 27 of the Immigration Act 13 of 2002 or any other provisions in any other law, irrespective of the period of stay in the Republic of South Africa.

“New exemption permits will not be renewable, a holder of the permit will be allowed freedom of movement between Lesotho and South Africa or any other country.”

Permits were set to expire June 2024

Initially set to expire on December 31 2023, the exemptions granted to Basotho now allow about 54 653 individuals an opportunity to apply for new exemption permits.

Motsoaledi emphasised that the affected Basotho can continue to use their current permits until the end of 2024.

Previously, the ZEPs initially due to expire at the end of 2023 had their validity extended to June 2024 thanks to a court ruling.

This after the Helen Suzman Foundation launched a court challenge.


Motsoaledi said those who had applied for a waiver and other visas do not need to reapply for new permits.

However, individuals who did not apply for waivers are advised to go to VFS and start the application process anew.

“Those who did not apply for the waivers, there is nothing we can do. They need to go to VFS and start all over again,” the minister said.

“We have given them the opportunity, we have extended it many times.

“So, I call upon all the affected Lesotho and Zimbabwe nationals to make use of the window of opportunity to apply for new exemption permits through VFS Global.”

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