Thousands of Zimbabweans living in South Africa on temporary permits are making plans to return home as their permits expire at the end of June. The Zimbabwe government says at least 8,000 migrants have already registered to be part of the first wave of returnees.
The Zimbabwe Exemption Permits (ZEPs), which allowed an estimated 178,000 Zimbabweans to legally stay and work in South Africa, will come to an end on June 30. This has prompted thousands to register with Zimbabwe’s embassy to facilitate their return.
Deputy Foreign Minister David Musabayana said Zimbabwe is ready to welcome the returnees and arrangements are in place to help them reintegrate back home. Buses will be provided for those needing transportation while swift customs clearance and assistance settling back in is also part of the plan.
The Zimbabwean government has partnered with the International Organization for Migration for logistical support and will provide psycho-social support for the returning migrants. Returnees will also receive assistance acquiring Zimbabwean identification documents if needed.
A massive wave of returnees is imminent as the permit deadline looms. After more than a decade in South Africa, thousands of Zimbabweans are now making plans to come back home. Zimbabwe is gearing up for the influx and trying to put supports in place to help the returnees adjust. Stay tuned for updates as the situation develops!