11 May 2022
The Department of Home Affairs has noted with deep concern a misleading News24 article published on 06 May 2022 and on other media platforms, including social media, under the headline, “PhD student kills himself after failing to register for academic year after study permit expires”.
The Department wishes to place the following facts on record:
This student was not an exemption holder commonly known as Zimbabwe Exemption Permit (ZEP). The ZEP is not applicable to him or his case whatsoever. Even if he was the holder thereof, the Minister of Home Affairs has issued Directive No.1 of 2021 extending the validity of the exemptions granted to Zimbabwean nationals until 31 December 2022.
The Minister issued Directions gazetted on 28 September 2021 opening applications for visas under the Immigration Act, including study visas. The student was a holder of a study visa which expired in January 2022. Nothing prevented the said student from registering since September 2021. Furthermore, there was no hurdle for him to register with the University without the involvement of the DHA. Indeed, many foreign students successfully registered at various learning institutions, including Wits University.
In his case, the process of registering was not dependent on renewal as his study visa was still valid. The student only applied to renew his study visa on 21 April 2022. The statement that the student was in regular contact with the DHA is misleading and mischievous. The DHA is unable to fathom the reasons why the said student failed to register on time.
The DHA condemns the insinuation that the tragic death of the said student can be laid at its door. This is rejected with the contempt it deserves. On the contrary, Wits University owes an explanation to the public on this tragic event. In the circumstances, shifting the blame to the DHA is unhelpful.
Siya Qoza, 082 898 1657 (spokesperson for the Minister of Home Affairs)
David Hlabane, 071 342 4284 (media manager for the Department of Home Affairs)
ISSUED BY DEPARTMENT OF HOME AFFAIRS