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Zim says its ready to receive ZEP holders facing uncertain future in SA

Government has assured Zimbabweans facing an uncertain future in South Africa, following the expiration of their permits as the grace period to be in the neighboring country draws to an end on 30 June, that measures are being put in place to ensure their safe return.

More than 178,000 Zimbabwe Exemption Permits (ZEP) holders are awaiting the outcome of their visa and waiver applications following the termination of the special program.

They have about two months before their documentation to live and work in South Africa expires.

Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa this week said cabinet received an update report on preparations for the expected return of Zimbabweans who are going to be affected by the non-renewal of their work permits.

She added that a Technical Committee on the Return of Zimbabwean Nationals, which was set up by Cabinet, has designed a comprehensive Repatriation and Reintegration Plan comprising three elements, namely: the Pre-Arrival; Arrival; and Post-Arrival stages.

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“Cabinet wishes to assure the nation that the Second Republic has elaborate plans to ensure the safety and well-being of its citizens who face an uncertain future in foreign lands and are desirous to return to their motherland.

“As the situation stands, more than 178 000 Zimbabwean nationals will require assistance, since they will be regarded as illegal immigrants in South Africa after 30 June, 2023,” she said.

“Under the Plan, facilities at the Beitbridge and Plumtree border posts have already been inspected in order to ensure preparedness for the impending repatriation task.

“The physical mapping exercise which the Technical Committee conducted in South Africa reached out to nearly 10 000 Zimbabwean nationals across the nine provinces of South Africa. The Technical Committee assisted those in need of identity and related documents,” she added.

Last month, the Helen Suzman Foundation told the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria that Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi’s decision to terminate ZEP was procedurally unfair and irrational.

The organisation is seeking an order to declare the minister’s decision invalid and to have it set aside.