HARARE – Zanu PF legislators have reached out to Zimbabweans in South Africa telling them that they were welcome back home should they fail to meet the requirements by authorities in Pretoria for them to remain in that country.
The legislators led by the ruling party’s Chief Whip, Pupurai Togarepi told them that the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa was spearheading many developmental projects meant to benefit everyone including returning residents consistent with the thrust not to leave anyone or place behind.
The meeting followed South Africa’s decision not to renew holders of Zimbabwe Exemption Permits which are set to expire this year.
Togarepi and Nkayi South MP Stars Mathe who are attending a Pan African Parliament committee meetings took time to meet Zimbabweans residing in South Africa where they heard their challenges before advising them that they were welcome back home.
In an interview, soon after meeting a sizeable number of Zimbabweans in South Africa Togarepi said their engagement was fruitful.
“First things first. All Zimbabweans are welcome home anytime. They are free to come back to their country, where they are loved, where opportunities are there, and where they will live in peace. We cannot fight the laws of other countries, it’s good that our people are working here, earning incomes, and sending money back to their families. But if the laws of this land say Zimbabweans or foreigners should go back to their countries, we welcome them,” said Togarepi.
“There are programmes and opportunities by the Second Republic. The skills they got here can be very important for the efforts we are putting on the ground to develop Zimbabwe. So if any Zimbabweans in South Africa are told to leave, they should go home knowing they are welcome and leave happily for their motherland. We are looking forward to receiving them and giving them support.”
He urged those living in South Africa unlawfully to regularise themselves saying failure to do so will draw adverse consequences.
He expressed optimism that arrangements for safe return will be made at points of entry and exits at the Government to Government level.
Mathe said issues that came up during engagements with Zimbabweans in South Africa had to do with safe return without hassles at points of entry.
“They raised issues of their safe return saying in some instances they have been asked to pay bribes,” said Mathe.
A representative of the Zimbabweans in South Africa, Ms Hilda Masuku said they were ready to return home.
“We had frank discussions with our MPs. We were told of several developments the Government is pursuing,” said Ms Masuku who comes from Nkayi, Matabeleland North province.
Another Zimbabwean said they had acquired several skills during their stay that they could now use in Zimbabwe.