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Zimbabwe Embassy secures transport for 400 Zimbabweans in SA

by Staff reporter
13 May 2020 at 15:56hrs | Views
The Government has entered into a partnership with Zimbabwean businessman, Mr Justice Maphosa, the Chief Executive and Founder of Bigtime Strategic Group to roll out an assisted repatriation program to transport 400 of its citizens from South Africa via Beitbridge Border Post.

The deal is a fruition of the government through its embassy in Pretoria and the arrangement is set to benefit Zimbabwean nationals who could not afford to travel back home through  their own resources.

In a statement yesterday, the Zimbabwean Embassy said the package will cover the cost of hiring buses for about 400 Zimbabwean nationals, the provision of food for the travelers on the trip and personal protective equipment while in quarantine in Zimbabwe.

"In addition, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations Migration Agency, is providing technical support to the Embassy in planning and carrying out this humanitarian repatriation exercise," said the Embassy.

"The technical support includes coordination of pre-departure arrangements, pre-embarkation medical check and distribution of COVID-19 related awareness material.

"The pre-embarkation checks will be done before every trip. It should also be noted that upon crossing into Zimbabwe, all the returnees are subjected to mandatory quarantine at designated centers. The costs thereof are carried by the Government of Zimbabwe.

"Subsequent communication will be made regarding the assistance for distressed Zimbabwean nationals who elect to remain within the borders of South Africa".

According to the statement, the Envoy has been reaching out to Zimbabweans in South Africa who are faced with numerous challenges and that the response has been overwhelming.

It is understood that over 4 000 Zimbabwean migrant workers in the neighboring country have registered for different assistance packages with the embassy.

The embassy said many people were in need of food supplies, pleas for self repatriation and assisted repatriation back home.

"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.

"There are buses set to ferry Zimbabwean nationals back home, under the self-funded repatriation where the travelers pay for their own transportation. The carrying capacity has been strictly limited to 70 percent in order to comply with South Africa's current lockdown regulations for public transport," read part of the statement.

A considerable number of the requests received by the Embassy, it said were for assisted on humanitarian grounds from Zimbabwean nationals who, during this lockdown in South Africa, are no longer able to sustain their stay in the country due to loss of incomes.

Upon arrival in the country, the returnees are dropped off at the National Social Security (NSSA) hotel which is being used as a quarantine and isolation centre.

They are then profiled, tested for covid-19 and transported to quarantine centers near their homes.

So far a total of 227 people have been quarantined at the NSSA hotel, mostly those using own transport, while more than 1000 who were assisted by the Embassy passed through the centre in the last seven days.

Source - chroncile