Zimbabwe Expects 8 000 ZEP Holders To Return From South Africa Soon

1 year agoSun, 28 May 2023 06:34:23 GMT
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Zimbabwe Expects 8 000 ZEP Holders To Return From South Africa Soon

At least 8 000 Zimbabwean migrants who registered to return home ahead of the expiry of the Zimbabwe Exemption Permits (ZEP) in South Africa on June 30 are expected soon, with the Zimbabwean government confirming that all logistics for a smooth process are in place.

This is the first batch of ZEP holders registered for assistance during the mapping exercise conducted from February until early March this year.

Zimbabwean Foreign Affairs and International Trade Deputy Minister David Musabayana said that a committee comprising officials from several ministries was coordinating logistics to ensure the smooth movement of people from South Africa, looking at the whole gamut of their needs. The returnees will receive customs clearance, reintegration of children into schools, social and psychological support, and other assistance.

He said the government will also provide buses for those needing transportation. Zimbabwean consulates in South Africa are assisting citizens in accessing vital documents like birth certificates, national identity cards and passports. He said:

Government stands ready to receive the ZEP permit holders and all is now in order and we should be expecting them anytime soon. For further assistance, we urge people to approach the Zimbabwe Embassy in Pretoria and the two consulates in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

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The inter-ministerial committee has covered a lot of ground so far, identifying areas of assistance for the returnees. Government will also provide buses for those needing transportation.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade spokesperson Mr Livit Mugejo told The Sunday Mail that the 8 000 returnees were registered in different parts of South Africa. He said:

During the mapping exercise, we managed to register more than 8 000 people out of the expected 178 000.

However, the figure 178 000 comprises Zimbabweans of different standing working across different sectors of the South African economy. While the ZEP provided an umbrella immigration cover for our people, the six months’ extension was also meant to afford the affected citizens ample time to migrate to other available visas.

Zimbabwean consulates in South Africa are assisting citizens in accessing vital documents, including birth certificates, national identity cards and passports. The government will also provide customs clearance, reintegration of children into schools, and social and psychological support for returnees.

The Zimbabwean government has partnered with the International Organization of Migration for technical support in the expected mass movement of Zimbabweans from South Africa.

The mapping exercise, which began on February 13, allowed ZEP holders to register online for assistance to return home. The exercise’s first phase ended in early March, followed by phase two, which had enhanced support for the returnees.

Since 2009, at least 178,000 Zimbabweans have been living in South Africa under the ZEP, which was initially given to Zimbabweans with crucial skills for the country’s development. However, SA now believes it has enough of its own citizens with the required skills.

The SA government initially gave ZEP holders until December 31, 2022, to apply for alternative visas, and later extended the permits’ validity to June 30, 2023. The alternatives include student, business, spousal, and work permit visas, which are the typical visas foreigners working in the country require.

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