Minister Motsoaledi Announces Reprieve for Migrants Living and Working in South Africa
In a recent media briefing, Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi revealed a two-year exemption for special dispensation permit-holders from Lesotho and Zimbabwe, residing and working in South Africa.
“I have decided to grant exemptions to approximately 54,653 Lesotho nationals for a period of two years. The affected Lesotho nationals will be entitled to apply for new exemption permits.”
Terms and Conditions for Lesotho Nationals
The exemption, catering to over 50,000 Basotho migrants, comes with specific terms and conditions:
- Exemption permits for Basotho will be valid until November 29, 2025.
- Holders are entitled to work, seek employment, and conduct business in South Africa.
- Permanent residence applications will not be accepted during the validity of the exemption permit.
- Freedom of movement between Lesotho and South Africa is allowed.
“New exemption permits will not be renewable. A holder of the exemption permit will be allowed freedom of movement between Lesotho and South Africa or any other country.”
Relief for Zimbabwean Nationals
Additionally, Minister Motsoaledi announced exemptions for approximately 178,000 Zimbabwean nationals, providing them with a two-year reprieve under specific conditions:
- Exemption permits for Zimbabweans will expire on November 29, 2025.
- Similar to Basotho nationals, holders can work, seek employment, and conduct business in South Africa.
- Permanent residence applications are restricted during the validity of the exemption permit.
- Freedom of movement between Zimbabwe and South Africa is permitted.
A holder of the exemption permit cannot change his or her status in the Republic of South Africa as contemplated in Section 10(6) of the Immigration Act 13 of 2002 during the validity of the permit issued.
Disclosure of Minor Children
Both Lesotho and Zimbabwe nationals applying for new exemption permits are required to disclose and/or register all minor children born and staying in South Africa.
Earlier this year, the High Court in Pretoria overturned the decision not to extend the Zimbabwe Exemption Permits, providing further relief and extending the permits until December 2023. The recent announcements by Minister Motsoaledi offer a pathway for Lesotho and Zimbabwe nationals to continue their residency and work in South Africa for the specified period.