Zimbabwe to repatriate thousands of its nationals from SA

Foreign Affairs Minister, Fredrick Shava


Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Frederick Shava said that the government is working on logistics to receive citizens residing in South Africa whose special permits will be expiring end of this year.

This follows the South African government’s decision to discontinue the Zimbabwe Exemption Permits (ZEP) which benefited more than 170 000 Zimbabwean nationals.

Shava and South Africa’s International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor held a mid-term review Bi-national Commission meeting in Pretoria on Wednesday where the issue of migration was discussed.

The former diplomat to China and the United Nations said Zimbabwe is ready to take back its citizens who fail to meet the requirement stipulated by SA for them to get other permits. 

He said:

This has been on the cards for some time since the South African government pronounced the end of ZEP permits. Zimbabweans are also aware of a time limit.

Those who fail to meet the requirements of South Africa are welcome back home.

We will be working on the modalities and the logistics of receiving them when they come.

The ZEP will expire at the end of this year. Its expiry is naturally causing much anxiety to the holders of this permit.

Our governments must work closely in the implementation of this decision. We are ready to receive our nationals back home.

At the same time, I’d like to reiterate our appeal to Zimbabweans in SA to observe and respect the laws of SA.

South Africa also remains Zimbabwe’s biggest trading partner, with total trade between the two neighbours increasing from R38 billion in 2020 to R45.7 billion in 2021.


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