Zimbabwean Exemption Permit Project Monitoring

Queue for ZDP outside Wynberg Home Affairs OfficeThe Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) was implemented by the Department of Home Affairs in 2017 with the aim of regularising the stay of undocumented Zimbabweans in South Africa. It replaces previous permits including the DZP and ZDP. Zimbabweans were offered free temporary work and study permits, issued until December 2021.

PASSOP was involved closely in monitoring the implementation of the ZDP in the Western Cape and actively involved in managing the long queues at the Cape Town office during the last few weeks of the project.

Today, PASSOP continues to assist people that face problems with their ZEP.  Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any issues or questions.


IMPORTANT NOTE: If your permit application under the ZEP is currently pending, you have the full right to work, study and have access to basic health care in South Africa. If your employer, your child’s school, or hospital is refuting this, our office can provide you with a letter that confirms the above to be true.


  • If you receive a second SMS from the Department of Home Affairs, wait at least 5 working days and then go to the Home Affairs Department offices where you applied to collect your results.  There is currently a backlog so your results may not be ready until after the 5 working day period.
  • When you are going to collect your results, make sure you bring your original passport.
  • After you collect your results and your application is rejected, ask for a rejection letter from the Home Affairs officials before you leave. The rejection letter will tell you the reason why your application was rejected.
  • When you have a rejection letter, you have to draft an appeal letter addressed to the Director General of the Department of Home Affairs.
  • Depending on the reason for the decision to reject your application, you may be required to provide additional information together with your letter of appeal to the Department of Home Affairs.
  • Submit the letter of appeal within 10 working days of receiving the outcome.


If your work permit application is still pending, and if you are having problems with your employer or bank:

  • Come to PASSOP to get a ‘right to work’/right to health/ ‘right to education’ or a bank letter.


  • Bring a copy of the passport with the permit.
  • If your permit was put on an old or expired passport while you now have a new passport, bring both copies of both the old and new passport
  • Write a letter to the Director General in the Department of Home Affairs requesting an extension of the permit deadline to 4 years or transfer of the permit to a new passport. (We can assist with writing this letter.)
  • After such a letter has been sent to the Director-General one should expect a reply after 6 weeks for the reply from the Department of Home Affairs.


  • If you have lost the SIM card you used when you applied, do a sim-swap as soon as possible so that the Department of Home Affairs is able to communicate with you concerning the outcome of your permit application.
  • The first SMS sent by Home Affairs acknowledging the reception of your application contains a reference number. Please ensure that you write down this number somewhere safe in the event that your telephone or SIM card is lost or stolen.
  • Please ensure that you keep your application receipt safe.
  • If your fingerprints have not yet been taken, wait for an SMS from the Department of Home Affairs.
  • In the case that your permit is missing at the Department of Home Affairs, the Department of Home Affairs is responsible for issuing you with a new work permit. PASSOP can assist you in drafting a letter to the Director General requesting for a replacement. You must also bring a copy of your passport, permit application receipt and letter from your employer.


  • Drafting appeal letters
  • Drafting request for extension letters/request for replacement permit letters etc
  • Draft ‘right to work/right to education/right to health’ or access to bank letters for clients