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Beitbridge prepares for arrival of 200 000 SA deportees


Beitbridge prepares for arrival of 200 000 SA deportees




BEITBRIDGE – Different Government departments and other stakeholders met for three days this week in Beitbridge to prepare for the smooth repatriation of 200 000 Zimbabweans to be deported from South Africa from June 2023.

Beitbrige, the biggest border between Zimbabwe and South Africa is expecting an influx of returnees beginning June, the deadline when the southern neighbour will not renew exemption permits for thousands of Zimbabweans staying in that country.

The inter-ministerial meetings which at national level are co-chaired by the ministries of Foreign Affairs and Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare highlighted five key areas under the subcommittees of Return, Repatriation and Reintergration; Transport and Logistics; Security, Communication and Logistics.

In Beitbridge, the meeting which was headed by Refugees Commissioner Tirivavi Totamirepi said the main issues that will need to be dealt with include accommodation at the border for the deportees, duty free provisions, care for unaccompanies minors, people living with disablities, women, deportees without documents and special circumstamces for school children.

Logistics will also need to be put in place including tents for testing and screening the sick, security for deportees and Beitbridge as a town would need to be particulalry alert to possible disese outbreaks.

There will also be need to beef up staff at the border particulalry immigration officers whose number should be raised by 30 and increase the number of computers to quicken the process of clearing the deportees. Social welfare department presence will need to be beefed up.

The meetings started on Monday and the first meeting was held at Beitbridge Rural District Council. On Tuesday the participants broke into groups to look into different areas and resumed the meeting on Wednesday when the participants met at Beitbridge Town Council and made presentations on their various areas.

In the next meeting, the participants are expected to divide themselves into sub-committees that will deal with different issues.

Some key stakeholders who attended the meeting are from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Harare, Beitbridge District Development Co-ordinator (DDC) Sikhangezile Moyo-Mafu and Beitbridge Principal Immigration Officer Moses Nyandoro.

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