Govt in hot water over passports

Zimbabweans who were denied passports because they were “aliens” have accused the Ministry of Home Affairs of pocketing their passport fee and denying them their rightful documents.

The affected nationals are Zimbabwean by birth but have parents of foreign origins. They were denied Zimbabwean passports and ordered to renounce their “foreign nationality” first, a process that takes around four months.

As a result, they missed out on the Zimbabwe Documentation Project, through which the South African government gave undocumented Zimbabweans freely-processed work, business and study permits.


However, many of those who spoke to The Zimbabwean early this week said that they had been “robbed” of about R900 each, which they paid to apply for the passports.

“I am a Zimbabwean by birth and cannot renounce a status that I never carried. My father, who was born in Mozambique, died a long time back and I never visited that country with him, so how do I become a Mozambican? This is just unfair and it cost me a permit here,” said one applicant.

“Now that I we have been denied the passports, they are refusing to refund us the money we used to apply. What they are now saying is that, ‘we cannot give you our passports because you are foreigners, but we will take your money’ and that does not make sense.”

Another applicant said that he had been to Harare on three occasions to get his money back, but was referred from one office to another until he returned to South Africa empty handed.


“It seems that no-one really knows what should happen with the money because the officers at Home Affairs kept referring me with no solution. I have now resigned myself to the fact that I will not get the money back,” he said.

A source in the Johannesburg office said he did not know whether the affected citizens would be refunded or not.

This is not the first time that the Zimbabwean government has been accused of malpractice over travel documents. In 2009 and 2010, the Johannesburg Consulate was accused of fleecing South African-based citizens of over R10 million when they issued them invalid Emergency Travel Documents.

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