THE Zimbabwe Government, working with its partners has started rolling out an assisted repatriation package for distressed Zimbabweans in South Africa who cannot come home through their own means.
Zimbabwe’s Consul-General to Johannesburg, Mrs Melody Chaurura said on Friday that the first batch of 200 people will arrive in the country on Saturday.
She said they are also seeking clearance for six buses to transport hundreds of others through the self-repatriation model.
Under the model, the returnees fund their transportation by road via Beitbridge Border Post, while the assisted package is fully funded by the Government and its partners.
“We are working on the logistics to transport 200 of our nationals on the assisted model after securing partners to fund the transportation and feeding 400 people.
“So far we are starting with those in Johannesburg and Pretoria and other settlements in Gauteng province. These are expected to travel by road through Beitbridge Border Post,” said Mrs Chaurura.
She said they are working on logistics to repatriate hundreds others through the assisted package.
On Wednesday, Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Pretoria, Mr David Hamadziripi said they had entered into a partnership with businessman, Mr Justice Maphosa of Bigtime Strategic Partnership to transport 400 people back home.
He said the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Migration Agency are providing technical support and humanitarian support to Zimbabweans affected by the lockdown south of the Limpopo River.
According to the ambassador, a total of 2680 Zimbabweans had registered for repatriation as at 6 May, while 4172 others are in need of food assistance.
On Thursday, the IOM donated an assortment of disinfecting equipment, and infrared thermometers among other items for use by the Government at the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) hotel which is used to quarantine returnees from South Africa.
“As IOM we are here to handover some material to support the Beitbridge quarantine centre on Infection, Prevention and Control (IPC).
“The consignment consists of infrared thermometers, knapsack sprayers, disinfecting chemicals, sanitizers, liquid soap and pedal bins, which is part of our support to the ongoing efforts by the Government of Zimbabwe to curb the spread of Covid-19,” said IOM’s Project Assistant for Beitbridge, Mr Nhamo Muleya.
He said they were also working with other partners including government ministries to capacitate authorities at the NSSA quarantine centre.
Beitbridge District Environmental Health Officer, Ms Caroline Siphuma said the disinfectants will be used at the NSSA Quarantine Centre, local Prison, Border Post, the Hospital and the main police station.
“We appreciate the support from IOM to boost our capacity to minimize the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic and this is a timeous gesture considering that we expect the volume of human traffic to increase at this place,” she said.
A total of 246 people entering from South Africa has been quarantined at the NSSA hotel since its opening, while over 1200 were transported to various provincial centres countrywide.
The place carried 150 people and presently has 53 on quarantine, 75 others were transported to Manicaland, Masvingo and Harare in Zupco buses.