Comment : South Africa returnees most welcome

The Chronicle

ZIMBABWE abandoned its currency in 2009 in favour of a basket of multi-currencies dominated by the United States dollar to halt hyperinflation which had rendered the local currency worthless. 

The country joined the likes of Argentina, Mozambique and Panama which have all experienced a total collapse of their currencies. 

The erosion of bank balances as a result of the dumping of the Zimbabwean dollar left millions of citizens and business alike, stranded. Public and investor confidence in the local currency, monetary authorities and banking sector collapsed together with the Zimbabwean dollar. 

A bond note was introduced by Government, firstly as an export incentive scheme in 2016, and already there was talk about re-introducing the Zimbabwe dollar. In early 2019, the central bank announced plans to bring back the local currency which was then done in terms of Statutory Instrument 142 of 2019. 

In June 2020 Zimbabwe introduced a weekly currency auction system. The system has kept the Zimbabwe dollar alive and curbed steep currency depreciation. As a result, public and investor confidence in the local currency, monetary authorities and banking sector has since improved and continues to improve. 

Given, navigating the Zimbabwean economy has not been easy. University graduates have over the years turned to menial jobs in South Africa, Botswana, the United Kingdom and other countries.

However, the new political dispensation led by President Mnangagwa has been re-writing the script. More and more Zimbabweans are creating their own wealth while a number of local and foreign investors have created thousands of jobs.

President Mnangagwa’s foreign policy thrust of engagement and re-engagement, a dynamic shift from his predecessors’ “look east policy”, is paying dividends, bigtime.  

For example, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is now Zimbabwe’s major trading partner after overtaking South Africa. In 2020, Zimbabwe earned US$1,4 billion from exports to the UAE alone. 

President Mnangagwa

These are real opportunities for Zimbabweans created by the Second Republic. Zimbabweans cannot continue to be destitute in other countries.  

The recent announcement by the South African government that it had extended the Zimbabwe Exemption Permit (ZEP) to June 2023, should be a wake-up call for Zimbabweans staying illegally in that country to come back home and help re-build their country. 

About 178 000 Zimbabweans are under the ZEP, which lapsed on December 31, 2021, but according to SA’s Department of Home Affairs, only about 6 000 permit holders have sought a waiver.

It is against this background that Government is already preparing for an influx of nationals ahead of the expiry of the ZEP next year.

Yesterday’s announcement that Zimbabweans returning from South Africa are exempted from paying duty on one vehicle and all personal belongings is a bold move by a responsible Government. 

The Beitbridge Border Post

Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa made the announcement during a post-Cabinet briefing in Harare. Cabinet yesterday received and adopted a report on the anticipated return of Zimbabweans from South Africa presented by Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Frederick Shava. 

“The Zimbabwe Government has issued guidelines and regulations to returning residents which is one duty-free vehicle, and no limit to personal property. Government has also engaged the South African Government, emphasising that Zimbabwe is ready to receive its returning nationals who should comply with the relevant South African laws,” said, who also revealed that Cabinet had agreed to establish an interim committee to prepare for the returning residents.

Minister Monica Mutsvangwa

We commend Cabinet for preparing for the return of fellow citizens. Zimbabwe will forever be indebted to the South African government for the humane treatment of illegal immigrants and their extended stay brought about by the ZEP. 

It is now time for Zimbabwean illegals in SA to return home. Opportunities are plenty and the economy is improving, slowly but surely. 

It is time for us to build the Zimbabwe we all want.

Article Source: The Chronicle

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