Embassy to repatriate 400 Zimbos

Sindiso Mhlophe



THE embassy of Zimbabwe in South Africa, through a partnership with the Founder of Bigtime Strategic Group, Justice Maphosa, is set to repatriate 400 Zimbabweans in the neighbouring country who have lost their sources of livelihood as a result of the national lockdown introduced to curb the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19).

This come as the embassy has in the past weeks provided permits for those who were able to pay for transport back to Zimbabwe, leaving many other with no source of income living in distress in South Africa.

In a statement, the embassy indicated that it had received a considerable number of requests from Zimbabwean nationals in South Africa who were in need of humanitarian assistance due to the lockdown in the country.

“Following the declaration of the state of national disaster, and the subsequent nationwide lockdown in a bid to curb the spread of novel coronavirus in South Africa, the embassy of Zimbabwe in South Africa has been reaching out to Zimbabweans within South Africa who are faced with numerous challenges.

“To that end, the embassy sought travel permits for Zimbabweans who were in need of self-repatriation, using own transport as well as buses, from South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), and many have since travelled back home while others are still waiting for their travel permits,” the embassy said.

“The embassy is pleased to announce that through a close partnership with Justice Maphosa, the Chief Executive and Founder of Bigtime Strategic Group, transport has now been availed for Zimbabwean nationals who could not afford to travel back home to be assisted in making the one-way trip.

“The generous assistance provided by Maphosa will cover the cost of hiring buses for around 400 Zimbabwean nationals, the provision of food for the travellers on the trip, and a provision of food and personal protective equipment while in quarantine in Zimbabwe,” the embassy added.

The embassy further said that the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Migration Agency were providing technical support in planning and carrying out the humanitarian repatriation exercise.

“The technical support includes coordination of pre-departure arrangements, pre-embarkation medical check and distribution of Covid-19 related awareness material. Subsequent communication will be made regarding the assistance for distressed Zimbabwean nationals who elect to remain within the borders of South Africa,” the embassy said.

Zimbabwe has received over 4 000 returnees from countries including South Africa, Botswana and the UK, who are being placed under mandatory quarantine across the country, with some complaining over the poor state of the government’s quarantine facilities.

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