The government has assured Zimbabweans that will be sent back home from South Africa in the coming months that they are free to return home and will be welcomed with open arms.

Thousands of Zimbabweans are set to return home or be deported by South Africa after 30 June 2023 when their Zimbabwean Exemption Permits (ZEP) visas expire.

In 2021, the South African government announced that it will be renewing critical skills visas and permits only, and not ZEPs.

In an interview with the Sunday News, Zimbabwe’s Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Deputy Minister, Ruth Maboyi-Ncube, said:

“They (Zimbabweans) must not be scared as they are returning home.

“We are ready to welcome them. We have already started making preparations to ensure their smooth return.

“We will ensure that [those of school going age] will get into our schools as long as they can produce proof of schooling in South Africa. We will then blend them with other learners in our schools.

“We are yet to meet with the relevant Ministry and discuss the finer details regarding schooling but we see no challenges.”

For years, the Zimbabwean government has been viewing its citizens living and working in other countries as sellouts bent on painting the country’s image black.

For that reason and others, Zimbabweans in other countries have not been allowed to vote from there, unless they come back home.

Meanwhile, other countries have exhibited that it is possible for people to vote from outside the country doing so at Embassies.