The Zimbabwean Ambassador to South Africa, David Hamadziripi, recently announced that the government of Zimbabwe is ready to welcome back Zimbabweans who hold the Zimbabwe Exemption Permit (ZEP). Hamadziripi stated that the embassy and the consulate of Zimbabwe are conducting a mapping exercise to identify and register ZEP holders.
The ZEP was introduced as a temporary solution for Zimbabweans living and working in South Africa, and about 180,000 Zimbabweans are facing the threat of deportation if they fail to secure permission to stay in South Africa beyond the expiration of their permits. The original expiration date for the ZEP was December 2021, but this has been extended to June 2023, giving ZEP holders more time to make arrangements to return to Zimbabwe.
According to Hamadziripi, the Zimbabwean government recognizes the important role that these individuals have played in contributing to the economies of both Zimbabwe and South Africa. The mapping exercise will help the government to better understand the needs of the returning Zimbabweans and to provide them with the support they need to successfully reintegrate into their home country.
ZEP holders who wish to return to Zimbabwe are encouraged to contact the Zimbabwean embassy or consulate in South Africa to register their details and receive information on the support that is available to them. This may include assistance with travel arrangements, finding suitable accommodation, and accessing healthcare and education services.
The Zimbabwean government is ready to welcome back ZEP holders and is committed to providing them with the support they need to successfully reintegrate into their home country. The mapping exercise is an important step in ensuring that the needs of returning Zimbabweans are met, and in helping to build a better future for all Zimbabweans.