”Decision to terminate the ZEP is unlawful, unconstitutional and invalid”
28 June 2023
As today’s judgment in the Zimbabwe Exemption Permit (ZEP) matter makes clear, what is at stake are matters both of enormous consequence but also striking ordinariness.
The judgment is of huge significance for the approximately 178 000 ZEP holders who have lived in South Africa perfectly legally for almost fifteen years, finding that they are entitled to fair process, due consultation and clear reason, demonstrating good cause, when decisions of calamitous moment are made regarding their lives and livelihoods.
Today’s decision holds that the Minister of Home Affairs’ decision to terminate the ZEP is unlawful, unconstitutional and invalid. That decision is remitted back to the Minister for fresh decision, following a fair process compliant with the requirements of administrative justice.
But the decision is also one of ordinariness for on these issues our laws and Constitution have long been clear. Where the exercise of public power will have drastic effect on the rights, lives and livelihoods of any persons, it cannot rationally be made without affording the affected persons an opportunity to make representations.
In its restatement of this fundamental principle of our law, the Court upholds and safeguards the rights not only of ZEP holders but of every South African. The HSF welcomes today’s judgment.
Issued by HSF, 28 June 2023