Criminals cash in on desperate Zimbabweans

The South African government has once again distanced itself from a ring that claims to be processing naturalisation papers for Zimbabweans here.

Since last year, Zimbabweans from Matabeleland have been flocking to a building in Pretoria to apply for naturalisation documents, popularly known as the “Zimbabwe-South Africa” identity document.

People running the process claimed that they have the mandate from the South African government, which allows them to naturalise Ndebeles, who are originally from Zululand in the KwaZulu Natal province.

However, the Department of Home Affairs said it was not part of the so-called process and warned Zimbabweans against falling prey to the scam.

“All DHA processes are run after public announcements and inside our offices,” said DHA Director-general, Mkhuseli Apleni. “We do not run our public operations in secret and in some private premises, so people should not allow themselves to lose their money to criminals taking advantage of their desperation.”

Despite the continued warnings, a number of Zimbabweans are still said to be falling prey to the scam, which has operated from a number of buildings in Pretoria since late last year.

Information obtained by The Zimbabwean early this week is that thousands have already lost substantial amounts of money, as they have kept flocking to a building in Lodium, on the outskirts of Pretoria, for the bogus service.

The criminals running the scam claim to be in possession of a court order entitling all Zimbabwean Ndebeles wishing to reclaim South African citizenship access to that right.

Some of the applicants said to have successfully received that nationality realised later that the documents they were given were fake.

DHA spokesman, Ronnie Mamoepa, said: “Naturalisation processes are done in our offices, not in some backyard places. This has nothing to do with us.”

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