SA slams ‘destructive’ NGOs for challenging decision to terminate ZEP
South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi slammed the Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) for lodging legal action to challenge his department’s decision to terminate the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) and accused the organisation of representing the ‘destructive role of some non-governmental organisations (NGO)’ in the country.
In November last year, South Africa decided not to renew the ZEP beyond the end of December this year, a decision that is likely to affect more than 150,0000 Zimbabwean nationals who live, study and work legally in South Africa with the permit.
According to The Citizens newspaper, the Department of Home Affairs on Tuesday lashed out at the HSF, saying the foundation’s legal challenge was a “perfect example of the destructive role of some NGOs in the country.
The department’s spokesperson Siya Qoza said Motsoaledi had engaged with several members of civil society with a view to manage the consequences of the decision not to renew ZEP collectively.
However, Qoza said the HSF had been “conspicuous by its silence” by not raising their concerns directly with the minister or the department.
“There’s a disturbing and growing trend by some NGOs to sabotage the polycentric and policy laden decisions taken by the government by using the courts. This development must be nipped in the bud as soon as possible,” he said in a statement.
The department further claimed that their country was now under the “dictatorship of some of the NGOs with some having faceless and dubious funders”.
“Their ultimate aim is to assist in the dislodgement of the government of the day from power by all means available. The decision of the minister not to extend the exemptions granted to Zimbabwean nationals has been widely supported by South African citizens.
“The HSF, in its desperate bid to blackmail the nation, is twisting the support for the minister’s decision by the majority of South African citizens as being ‘xenophobic’. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
Migration from Zimbabwe to South Africa is driven by a combination of several political and socio-economic factors such as poverty, low wages, the inaccessibility of passports and human rights violations under the Zanu-PF regime.
Recently, activist Anthony Muteti told the Ground Up that the economic situation had not improved in Zimbabwe. He blamed South Africa for not being honest with Zanu-PF.
“The situation has not improved in Zimbabwe. The South African government has not done enough to make the ruling party ZANU-PF accountable. They declared the election in Zimbabwe free and fair when people were intimidated and murdered.”
“A lot of Zimbabweans are going to come back undocumented … The intensification of security at the border is not going to work; it is a dream; it is a fantasy.
“I come from a province close to South Africa where people used to walk to South Africa for so many years. Our forefathers have established families; it will go on forever.”