Pretoria - In yet another ruling against him regarding the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) issue, a full bench of the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, dismissed Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi’s application for leave to appeal the earlier judgment, which declared his decision to terminate the ZEP programme as unconstitutional.
This means that the minister will have to go back to the drawing board on the issue and that the more than 178, 000 holders of ZEP permits will be safe for now.
In June, the court granted an order declaring the minister’s decision to terminate the ZEP, to grant a limited extension of 12 months, and to refuse further extensions beyond June this year as unlawful, unconstitutional and invalid.
The minister was directed to reconsider his decision and ensure that any further decision complies with administrative action rights, as contained in the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act.
In particular, the minister must consult with interested NGOs, the public and ZEP holders.
The minister applied for leave to appeal that decision, which was refused by three judges late on Monday afternoon.
This means that ZEP holders retain their right to live and work in SA pending the conclusion of any further process and decisions by the minister and for 12 months thereafter, the Norton Rose Fulbright Impact Litigation Team explained.
The law firm acted for the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CoRMSA), who brought the initial challenge to the minister’s decision, together with the Helen Suzman Foundation.
Advocate David Simonsz acted on a pro bono basis for CoRMSA.
Shortly after the lengthy judgment in June, Motsoaledi said his department would apply for leave to appeal the ruling. The minister maintained throughout that his decision to terminate the ZEP programme and refuse any further exemptions was correct.
In refusing his application for leave to appeal, the judges said the application was “destined to fail” and pointed out that the order it issued in June (which the minister wanted to appeal) was only temporary relief.