Dr Aaron Motsoaledi was rushed to hospital for a medical procedure, his department announced on Monday.
Dr Aaron Motsoaledi hospitalised: Here’s everything we know
The Department of Home Affairs released a statement confirming that the minister was admitted to the Steve Biko Academic Hospital on Monday morning, albeit no details were furnished about the nature of the medical procedure.
This is not the first time Dr Motsoaledi has been hospitalised. In August 2015, he was treated for pneumonia at the same hospital. Previously, in August 2013, he underwent a planned surgical procedure, also at Steve Biko Academic Hospital.
The statement from the department indicated that Dr Motsoaledi might be unavailable for an unspecified period due to his hospitalisation.
Last week, Motsoaledi extended the contentious exemption permits of Lesotho and Zimbabwean nationals to 31 December 2024.
“I call upon all the affected Lesotho and Zimbabwean nationals to make use of the window of opportunity to apply for new exemption permits through VFS Global,” Motsoaledi said at the time.
What is a Zimbabwean Exemption Permit?
At a time when scores of Zimbabwe escaped the harsh conditions of their country, South Africa was one of the SADC allies that opened its doors to the refugees.
To mitigate the huge influx of undocumented foreign nationals, the South African government, in 2014, introduced the Zimbabwean Special Dispensation Permit system which granted nationals from Zimbabwe to legally reside within SA borders.
The temporary permit had a 2017 expiry date and when that lapsed, the Department of Home Affairs, allegedly pressured by the Emmerson Mnangagwa regime, extended the stay of more than 200 000 with the renewed exemption permits.
This version of the ‘free pass’ came with the condition that Zimbabweans would enjoy limited access to permanent residency but once the permit expires in December 2021, it will not be renewed.
With the clocking winding closer to the deadline date of 31 December 2023, Zim nationals drew from the ambits of the Immigration Act to convince the Gauteng High Court to approve their permanent residency in South Africa, a decision that was granted last week.
Foreign nationals residing in South Africa under these provisions have until December 2024 to renew their exemption permits.