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Zimbabwe ready to receive deportees from SA, offers lucrative packages

The Zimbabwean government says it is ready to receive its nationals that are being deported from South Africa following the expiry of the Zimbabwean Exemption Permits (ZEP).

Addressing journalists during the post cabinet briefing in Harare on Tuesday, Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the government had approved the establishment of an Inter-Ministerial Committee to prepare for the returning residents.

Lucrative packages have also been cited including duty free for one car, presumably to attract them to come home.

“Cabinet adopted the Report on the Anticipated Return of Zimbabwean Nationals from South Africa, as presented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Honourable Dr Frederick Makamure Shava,” Mutsvangwa said.

“Cabinet would like to inform the public that mass deportations of undocumented Zimbabweans were expected from South Africa following expiry of the Zimbabwe Exemptions Permits (ZEPs) which South Africa had granted them.

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“The sister Republic of South Africa had initially given the ZEP holders a grace period of up to 31 December 2022 to apply for alternative visas, and later extended the ZEP validity to 30 June 2023.

“The alternative visas include student, business, spousal and work permit visas. However, most ZEP holders do not qualify for the outlined critical skills visas hence the low uptake.”

She added: “The Zimbabwean Government has issued guidelines and regulations for returning residents which include one duty-free vehicle and no limits to personal property.

“Government has also engaged the South African Government, emphasizing that Zimbabwe is ready to receive its returning nationals, who should comply with the relevant South African laws.

“Cabinet agreed to establish an Inter-Ministerial Committee to prepare for the returning residents.”

Mutsvangwa said the committee will be supported by sub committees which will include the following functional areas: transport and logistics; security, documentation, re-integration support, resource mobilisation, information and publicity and health and education.

The South African government in November last year decided not to renew the ZEP beyond the end of December this year. They, however, extended the deadline to June next year to allow the foreigners to apply for alternative visas.

But the decision to halt ZEP is likely to affect more than 170,000 Zimbabwean nationals who live, study and work legally in South Africa with the permit.