- The Helen Suzman Foundation (“HSF”) issued a press statement on 20 September 2022 dealing with the directive issued by the Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi extending the validity of the exemption permits of the Zimbabwean nationals to 30 June 2023.
- Due to the pending litigation, the Minister is constrained in responding fully to the misguided and unfounded allegations contained in the said press statement. However, some of the allegations cannot be left unchallenged, in particular, the most ridiculous conspiracy theory relating to ZANU-PF and elections in Zimbabwe in April 2023.
- First, the Minister finds it unacceptable that the (HSF even though it claims “hard to credit”) would have no qualms in putting in its statement the most bizarre conspiracy theory that “there is now some speculation that the reason for the most recent six-month extension is that it is a sop to Zimbabwe’s ruling, ZANU-PF: delaying the return of those who fled its murderous policies until after the next elections, scheduled for April 2023, means they cannot vote against ZANU. I find that speculation, assuming as it does such deeply cynical calculation, hard to credit…”
- Second, if HSF’s worry is the outcome of elections in Zimbabwe, then in that event, the Minister publicly challenges HSF to use its massive resources to mobilise all the Zimbabwean nationals in South Africa go and participate in the April 2023 elections. In this manner the HSF will be putting their money where their mouth is. Afterall it is a democratic obligation of a citizen of any country to vote in any elections in order to influence the direction that their country takes.
- Third, the Minister issued the directive on the recommendations of the Chairperson of the Departmental Advisory Committee led by Dr Cassius Lubisi. The Committee was appointed in May 2022 to assess the visa applications of the affected Zimbabwean nationals.
- Fourth, the record of the recommendations was made available to the HSF’s attorneys as part of the court process. This was followed by the media statement issued by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) on 2 September 2022 annexed hereto marked “A”. Both the record of recommendations and media statement issued by the DHA clearly set out the factors the Minister took into consideration when he issued the said directive.
- Fifth, HSF creates the wrong impression that the directive was issued in order to stop the legal challenge by HSF against the Minister’s decision not to extend the exemption regime of the Zimbabwean nationals. Nothing could be further from the truth than that. It is upon this basis that HSF states in its press statement that “despite that extension, the legal challenge to the decision to end the ZEP continues”. The Minister would like to dispel this deliberate distortion, as he exercises legal powers in the public interest not to promote the agenda of HSF.
- Sixth, the DHA is not “targeting that small section of migrants who have built their lives here in perfectly legal fashion”. It is simply enforcing immigration laws without fear, favour or prejudice. When the DHA fails to enforce the immigration laws, it is the HSFs of this world who would be among the first to stand on the rooftop and cry foul.
- Seventh, it would serve no useful purpose to debate the issues that are before court contained in HSF’s desperate press statement.
- Finally, all affected Zimbabwean nationals must realize that it is in their best interest to adhere to the procedures set out by the DHA and apply for visas or waivers. These applications will be duly considered. These procedures have nothing to do with “bad decisions have us hunting butterflies when we should be chasing bears” as HSF puts it in its press statement.
ISSUED BY DEPARTMENT OF HOME AFFAIRS