South Africa’s plan to end Zimbabweans’ permits faces challenge

South Africa’s decision to end special permits that allow 178 000 Zimbabweans to live and work in the country is to be challenged in court by the Helen Suzman Foundation.

The civil rights group said it has initiated legal action in a statement on Wednesday. The Zimbabwe Exemption Permits were granted to Zimbabweans who moved to the country before 2009.

Permit holders “will be put to a desperate choice: to remain in South Africa as undocumented migrants with all the vulnerability that attaches to such status or return to a Zimbabwe that, to all intents and purposes, is unchanged from the country they fled,” the foundation said.

“There are thousands of children who have been born in South Africa to ZEP holders during this time who have never even visited their parents’ country of origin.”

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