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ZEF condemns the Zimbabwe Consulate's insensitive handling of passport applications Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF)
September 21, 2010

The Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF) is greatly alarmed by the Zimbabwe Consulate's demand for new requirements to passport applicants in South Africa. ZEF has received numerous reports from applicants who were turned away because they had no letters of employment demanded by the Consulate for the issuance of a passport. Thousands of Zimbabweans are flocking to the Johannesburg Consulate to seek passports after the South African government requested all Zimbabweans in the country to legalise their stay or face deportation after the 31st of December 2010.

ZEF believes that the Zimbabwe Consulate's demand for proof of employment is a further infringement on the rights of Zimbabweans in the Diaspora as a passport is a right deriving from citizenship, rather than a privilege. ZEF Executive Director today urged all Zimbabweans who have been turned away because of failure to produce letters of employment to register with the Pretoria office, saying that he believes an urgent court application or diplomatic appeal could be made on behalf of those affected.

"The right to a passport goes to the heart of citizenship, which is a fundamental right in terms of our Constitution. It is reprehensible and unconscionable to deny a person his or her citizenship because that person is not employed. This is not a manifestation of the selfishness of capitalism; it is moral depravity!" said Mr Shumba

ZEF is also concerned about the slow pace of processing passport applications which has led to long queues of applicants, with some sleeping overnight at the Consulate since Monday. Already, corruption has started as some Zimbabweans who called the office indicated that they had to pay R50 to jump the queue. The Consulate ordinarily closes at 1200 Hrs, and does not open on Wednesday, thus further affecting those who come from afar places such as Cape Town and Durban. ZEF appeals to the Consulate to extend operating hours and days, as well as to ensure that other offices are opened in various parts of the country.

Lastly, ZEF advises Applicants in Pretoria that applications for South African permits are being processed at the Pretoria Show grounds, at TIRRO offices.

Visit the ZEF fact sheet

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