Remember that man who helped President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his son Emmerson Junior in the dark November 2017 days when their lives were in grave danger after a political fallout with then president Robert Mugabe and his administration?
Who could ever forget him? In case you don’t, watch video downloading below:
The businessman based in South Africa, Mr Justice Maphosa has offered to assist 400 stranded Zimbabweans in the neighbouring country who were struggling to raise bus fare to return home.
There is a large number of Zimbabweans living in South Africa. Some are employed in the different sectors of the SA economy that include banking, hospitality and education while others do menial jobs as casual workers. The first group of distressed individuals who approached the Zimbabwean Embassy in SA for assistance with repatriation after finding it difficult to make ends meet due to the national lockdown in that country is expected home tomorrow.
So far, Zimbabweans who have returned home from the neighbouring country did so under a programme in which returnees were funding their own travel. In a statement yesterday, Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to South Africa, Ambassador David Hamadziripi said Mr Maphosa is helping those who did not have money for transport back home. The businessman will also pay for the travellers food during the trip as well as provide food and personal protective equipment (PPEs) to the returnees while in quarantine in Zimbabwe.
He said the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) is providing technical support to the Embassy in planning and carrying out the repatriation exercise. The technical support includes coordination of pre-departure arrangements, medical checks and distribution of Covid-19 related awareness material.
The medical checks will be done before every trip.
“The Embassy is pleased to announce that through a close partnership with Mr Justice Maphosa, the chief executive and founder of Bigtime Strategic Group, transport has now been availed for Zimbabwean nationals who could not afford to travel back home. The generous assistance provided by Mr Maphosa will cover the cost of hiring buses for around 400 Zimbabwean nationals, the provision of food for the travellers on the trip, provision of food and personal protective equipment while in quarantine in Zimbabwe,” said Ambassador Hamadziripi.
About 550 people approached the Zimbabwean Embassy in SA and some sought support in the form of food packages while some requested to be assisted to return home.
The lockdown in South Africa started on March 21 with the neighbouring country following a five-level phased approach towards easing lockdown restrictions.
Ambassador Hamadziripi said following the declaration of the state of national disaster and the subsequent nationwide lockdown in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the neighbouring country, the Zimbabwe Embassy has been reaching out to Zimbabweans in that country.
“The Embassy subsequently received distress calls from Zimbabwean nationals who are in South Africa. The Embassy was inundated with requests varying from appeals for help with food supplies and pleas for assistance to return home,” he said.
“To that end, the embassy sought travel permits for Zimbabweans who were in need of self- repatriation using own transport as well as buses from South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation and many have since travelled back home while others are still waiting for their travel permits.”
Ambassador Hamadziripi said there are buses set to ferry Zimbabwean nationals back home under the self-funded repatriation programme where the travellers pay for their own transportation.
“There are buses set to transport Zimbabweans back home with the carrying capacity strictly limited to 70 percent in order to comply with South Africa’s current lockdown regulations for public transport. A considerable number of the requests received by the Embassy are from people who are no longer able to sustain their stay in the country due to loss of incomes during this lockdown in SA,” he said.
Ambassador Hamadziripi said returnees should note that upon crossing into Zimbabwe, they are subjected to mandatory quarantine at designated centres with the Government meeting all the costs.