The government of Zimbabwe is planning to repatriate its distressed citizens stuck in South Africa following travel bans and lockdowns put in place globally in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
By Cecilia Kamuputa
In a letter dated April 13, 2020, the Embassy of Zimbabwe in South Africa said it had learnt that there were Zimbabwean citizens and permanent residents facing challenges that would make their continued stay in South Africa uncomfortable and was now liaising with the head office in Harare on the possibility of repatriating those who were willing back to Zimbabwe.
“While consultations with the head office in Harare are underway, the embassy will continue with efforts to come up with a comprehensive evaluation of the situation on the ground as it develops,” Counsellor Martin Makururu wrote.
“Citizens and permanent residents who choose to exercise the option of returning to Zimbabwe during the lockdown period are expected to go into compulsory quarantine for a period of 21 days (three weeks.)”
Makururu pointed out that South Africa allowed the “voluntary, orderly” repatriation of foreign nationals to their countries of origin during the lockdown period.
He said Zimbabwe’s borders remained open to allow for the return of its citizens and permanent residents.
Makururu added that those who wished to return home had to provide their full names and surnames, passport or national identity card numbers, age, gender, current physical address, local [phone number, home address and phone number of next of kin in Zimbabwe a well as the home address in Zimbabwe to the Zimbabwe consulate.
South Africa has recorded more than 2 000 cases of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the country responding by implementing a lockdown.
Zimbabwe, on the other hand, has recorded 17 cases and three deaths.
Zimbabwe has implemented a lockdown that is due to end on Sunday.