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Zimbabwe ready for new SA border laws

The new travel regulations introduced by South Africa (SA) on Monday this week will not inconvenience Zimbabwean travellers heading to the southern neighbour, Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi has said.

Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi
Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi

As SA moves in to plug its porous borders and slam the brakes on child trafficking, Mohadi said Zimbabwe as a non-visa country to SA, met the new requirements which were now demanded by SA officials for those intending to travel with children to the neighbouring country.

“We give unabridged certificates at the Home Affairs ministry which is the long birth certificate that shows all the details of both parents on a single document. We no longer issue the short birth certificates, which are abridged and therefore we don’t expect a challenge with our citizens travelling to SA,” Mohadi said.

Under the new laws, children must present an unabridged birth certificate and passport at any of SA’s entry ports. The travel requirements have already sparked a storm in that country, with various industry watchdog bodies warning that the new regulations would do irreparable harm to SA’s tourism industry, which contributes nine percent to the gross domestic product.

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Parents and guardians travelling with children under 18 years have to provide unabridged birth certificates showing the names of both parents. Minors travelling with one parent need an affidavit of consent from the absent parent and applications for visas have to be made in person so that biometric information can be recorded. In addition to the documents, both parents must provide consent for their children to travel.

If the father did not acknowledge paternity, his consent will not be needed. In the event that both parents’ names are entered on the unabridged birth certificate, then the child would not be able to travel without consent from both parents.

And when a parent has unreasonably refused to give permission for the child to travel, only a court will be able to provide it, according to the SA Home Affairs department. Mohadi told the Financial Gazette this week that his ministry respected the decision made by the authorities in SA and did not have any extra-territorial capacity to contest the requirement put in by SA government.

“They can do as they please, they are a sovereign state and there is nothing which we can do about that,” Mohadi said.

SA remains a destination of choice for many Zimbabweans, with independent estimates placing the number of Zimbabweans in SA at nearly three million.

SA has been on a drive to tighten the influx of foreigners, mainly Zimbabwean nationals.

Last month, President Robert Mugabe told journalists in a post Southern African Development Community meeting held in Harare that nationals from neighbouring countries should desist going to SA as it was not “a heaven on earth”, as many had been led to believe it was. Financial Gazette

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