By Staff Reporter
DISTRESSED Zimbabweans in South Africa who cannot afford travel expenses back home following the Covid-19 lockdown can now do so, thanks to the intervention of a Zimbabwean born Pretoria based business mogul.
In a press release, the Zimbabwe Embassy in South Africa said transport has now been availed for Zimbabwe nationals who cannot afford travel.
This has been made possible through a partnership with the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Bigtime Strategic Group Justice Maphosa, International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and United Nations Migration Agency.
“The Embassy is pleased to announce that through a close partnership with Mr Justice Maphosa, the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Bigtime Strategic Group, transport has been availed for Zimbabwean nationals who cannot afford to travel back home to be assisted in making the one way trip,” reads the statement.
The Embassy also said the generous assistance provided by Maphosa will cover the cost of hiring buses for around 400 Zimbabwean nationals, the provision of food for travellers during the trip, and for personal protective equipment (PPEs) while under quarantine in Zimbabwe.
Maphosa, a multi-millionaire, is famous for dispatching a private jet to Mozambique November 2017 to pick up a then stranded Emmerson Mnangagwa who had fled into the neighbouring country soon after he was sacked as Vice President by now late former President Robert Mugabe.
The Embassy said the Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Migration Agency were providing technical support to the Embassy in planning and carrying out the exercise.
“The technical support includes coordination of pre-departure and arrangements, pre-embarkation medical check and distributing COVID 19 related awareness material,” the Embassy said.
The pre-embarking checks will be done before every trip, according to the embassy.
Upon crossing into Zimbabwe, all returnees are subjected to mandatory quarantine at designated centres and the costs therefore are carried by Zimbabwean government.
“Subsequent communication will be made regarding the assistance for distressed Zimbabwe nationals who elect to remain within borders of South Africa,” said the Embassy.
The Embassy also said a considerable number of requests received are for assistance on humanitarian grounds from Zimbabwean nationals who are no longer able to sustain their stay in the neighbouring country due to loss of income.