Home LOCAL NEWS Beitbridge opens for returning immigrants

Beitbridge opens for returning immigrants

Beitbridge opens for returning immigrants

Zimbabwe will this week open the Beitbridge Border Post to receive without conditions more than 3 000 of its citizens most of whom crossed the border illegally into South Africa and have requested that they be sent back home in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Deputy Minister Lovemore Matuke told Sunday News in an interview on Friday that the country was going to open the border post this week to receive more than 3 000 citizens from the neighbouring country.

Hovever, he could not reveal the exact day. He said all logistics with their South African counterparts were being made to allow even those without the requisite papers to pass through.

“We are going to open the Beitbridge Border Post to allow for the passage of the country’s citizens back into the country. We have more than 3 000 who have requested to be sent back home.

“As you know the South African side of the border is closed too, but we have made arrangements that they be allowed to pass.

“We are therefore saying even those without the required papers should not be afraid. No one is going to be arrested. We don’t want them to use illegal channels to come back because we want to account for everyone in the wake of Covid-19.

“The Government has put everything in place to ensure they are catered for,” said Deputy Minister Matuke.

He said some of them were of no fixed abode in South Africa and were living a cat and mouse life with that country’s law enforcement agents while others were doing odd jobs which have been cut off by the novel pandemic with South Africa last week extending its lockdown period by two more weeks.

The first phase was for three weeks.

The Deputy Minister said they have created space at the National Social Security Authority’s (Nssa) Beitbridge Hotel in readiness for the arrival of the migrants from South Africa where those returning will be isolated and tested for the disease.

He added that the Government will, through the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, provide the necessary supplies during their stay at the identified hotel.

Deputy Minister Matuke said he would be touring facilities that have been set to host the country’s citizens that have chosen to return home from neighbouring countries in the wake of a regional lockdown caused by Covid-19.

“We have people coming from Botswana who are housed at Hillside Teachers College, Bulawayo Polytechnic and some at Plumtree High School. I will be touring those places to get an appreciation of their safety to handle the numbers.

“Government and its partners will also be providing for them in terms of food and other provisions,” he said.

Asked on street children, destitutes and mental patients littering the streets of the country’s urban areas, Deputy Minister Matuke said in most areas those have been taken care of.

“We have taken street kids to various children’s homes while mental patients have been taken to psychiatric hospitals. We are, however, receiving reports that some are running away from the homes we have put them but our security forces are on the ground to enforce the lockdown and make sure no-one exposes themselves to the pandemic,” he said.

Deputy Minister Matuke said the Government was working to capacitate children’s homes that have absorbed the street kids.

He said vulnerable households have started receiving the $180 amounts the Government promised, hinting that the process was delayed by the vetting process.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwean Embassy in Namibia has also requested all Zimbabwean nationals who have been affected by the lockdown and wish to travel back home to register their names tomorrow and on Tuesday. However, unlike those in South Africa, those in Namibia are required to have valid travelling documents and national identity cards and they would meet their own travelling costs.

A letter written by the Consular Department says those that want to travel would go through Zambia where there is a possibility of a 14-day quarantine at the Zambian border before proceeding to Zimbabwe.

“There will also be a mandatory 21-day quarantine upon arrival in Zimbabwe,” reads part of the letter by the Consular Department. We are, however, receiving reports that some are running away from the homes we have put them but our security forces are on the ground to enforce the lockdown and make sure no one exposes themselves to the pandemic,” he said.

Deputy Minister Matuke said the Government was working to capacitate children’s homes that have absorbed the street kids.

He said vulnerable households have started receiving the $180 amounts the Government promised, hinting that the process was delayed by the vetting process.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwean Embassy in Namibia has also requested all Zimbabwean nationals who have been affected by the lockdown and wish to travel back home to register their names tomorrow and on Tuesday. However, unlike those in South Africa, those in Namibia are required to have valid travelling documents and national identity cards and they would meet their own travelling costs.

A letter written by the Consular Department says those that want to travel would go through Zambia where there is a possibility of a 14-day quarantine at the Zambian border before proceeding to Zimbabwe.

“There will also be a mandatory 21-day quarantine upon arrival in Zimbabwe,” reads part of the letter by the Consular Department.

The Sunday News

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