Thousands of Zimbabwean parents whose Zimbabwean Exemption Permits (ZEPs) are set to expire in June 2023 and have failed to acquire other permits to continue residing in South Africa are worried about their children’s transition from schools in South Africa.
GroundUp spoke to several Zimbabwean families who were affected by the discontinuation of the ZEP and they indicated that they have started making arrangements to move to Zimbabwe.
Parents who spoke to the publication said there are major differences between the education systems in Zimbabwe and South Africa.
Melody Chaurura, the Zimbabwean Consul-General in South Africa, said that they are still consulting government departments in both countries to address the issue.
The Politeness Foundation, which was formed in Zimbabwe in 2018 to empower people living with disabilities, expects more than 5 000 children to be accommodated in Zimbabwean schools in 2023.
Founder of the Politeness foundation, Polite Mbowa, said they are appealing to the Zimbabwean government to allow learners [relocating from SA] to proceed to the next grade following assessments of the learner’s ability.
Union of Zimbabwean Educators Western Cape said that about 180 of its 250 members have indicated that they are willing to return to Zimbabwe but most of them fear that they won’t find jobs. Union chairperson, Jack Mutsvairo, said:
The Zimbabwean government should be specific on how it is going to assist returning residents. At the moment it is just promising to assist. There should be something published.
This should include how learners are going to be integrated into the Zimbabwean education system. At the moment returnees are not sure of the fate of their children.
Last year the South African government announced that after 12 years it is now scrapping the ZEP.
The ZEP permit was to expire at the end of December 2022, leaving almost all of the nearly 180 000 permit holders undocumented. | GroundUp