President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa (ED) has said Zimbabwe is now ready to claim back its human resources scattered all over the world and to take full responsibility for its citizens.
He made the remarks when the southern African nation is expecting more than 178 000 Zimbabweans from South Africa after the expiry of the Zimbabwe Exemption Permits (ZEP) in June this year.
Writing in his weekly column published by The Sunday Mail, ED said a total of 178 412 nationals, including their families and dependents were expected home. He said:
Through our Embassy in South Africa, Government has availed a portal for them to register so their whereabouts and needs are known in anticipation of the repatriation exercise. Some have been away from home for quite a while and, until now, had set base in South Africa. The ZEP allowed Zimbabweans to lawfully remain in the sister Republic of South Africa in order to pursue their education, to work or set up businesses. With a strong educational foundation and largely highly skilled in different trades and disciplines, our nationals have been active across a wide spectrum of the South African economy. They will not be hard-pressed for options.
We are preparing for their return, and to warmly welcome them once they step on home soil. We will do so fully confident that their return and re-integration into their families and communities, and with relatives and friends will be smooth. Government will assist them as they prepare to resume a productive life as full citizens back in the land of their birth.
We thank all those countries which gave them shelter and more skills while we sorted out our affairs for recovery and growth. South Africa ranks foremost among those countries. With our economy now on an irreversible growth trajectory, the time has now come for our nation to claim back its own and to assume full responsibility for its citizens who may wish or need to come back home. They now have opportunities to contribute here at home. This is how my Government views this latest development.
He said a mopping team will leave for South Africa this week to ensure preparations are comprehensive and attend to every detail.
The team includes medical experts and officials from several ministries.
The President highlighted that he recently had a meeting with President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa and the director-general of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Professor Antonio Vitorino, to ensure a smooth return of Zimbabweans back home.
Some analysts are sceptical that Zimbabwe will be able to cater for the needs of those returning home as it is failing to meet the demands of the citizenry already in the country.