The government has dismissed reports of a mandatory five-year-ban on all individuals returning from neighbouring South Africa.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Nick Mangwana says not all returnees are affected by the ban as there are others who flaunted South Africa’s immigration law.
“Not everybody that is coming from South Africa has their passport endorsed with a five-year ban but only those people who would have overstayed have some endorsements put in their passports, they would have flouted South Africa’s immigration laws so that is primarily the problem, the breaking of South African laws.
“If you have been in South Africa legally, there will be no endorsement on your passport, on those occasions where people could not renew their permits to stay in South Africa because there was a lockdown, they also get an exception to the immigration laws,” Mangwana added.
“People that are coming in are coming to a place where people struggle with employment, where people do things, a lot of creative means to survive, and they are coming into that pool where people have to do different things to keep them going. If you are lucky to get a job, by all means, get a job if you cannot, create a job and do something for your family to survive all within legal parameters.
The Permanent secretary said Zimbabweans need to be more creative, more enterprising because there is a lot that could be done because many are definitely are not coming to a job ready-made for them just because they (returnees) have been outside the country.
“… No, it doesn’t work like that. There is quite a big number, I think there are about 129 ex-convicts and they are coming home, they have been screened and those who were on warrants of arrest here will be taken into custody and those who have done their time will be allowed to go but our security is on high alert as we understand that there might be a little bit of increase on crime rate, it might happen but we hope not.
Mangwana said the government was also getting inquiries from Zimbabweans who are in Lesotho and those who are in Swaziland and want to come home.
“The advice we can give them is to get in touch with our embassy, our consulate in South Africa, they will make arrangements.
“There is an arrangement within SADC which allows people to come home, there are people who say they have spent a lot of money in South Africa and now they have no money to come back, they are in a very difficult situation again we give them the advice to please get in touch with our embassy, they will also connect you with IOM, they will make arrangements for you to come home.
He said the government does not want Zimbabweans to be stranded in any country so there are measures in place to support people, to be home and support their families.
“Nothing changes in as far as the quarantine regulations are concerned, when you come, you will be quarantined for at least 21 days and after that you can go to your community and meet your family.