SA immigration continues to bar women without affidavits entry
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In an interview yesterday, Mr Mamoepa, who is also the ministerial spokesperson in the SA Department of Home Affairs, said the conduct by immigration officials at Beitbridge Border Post was illegal.
"Really, I am not aware of such a development, but however, it is not proper for our immigration officials to deny a bona fide traveller entry into South Africa for as long as that person has a valid travel document even if that traveller is aged 16 or below," he said.
Last week scores of Zimbabwean women travelling to South Africa with minor children were left stranded at Beitbridge Border Post when the neighbouring country's immigration officials turned them away as they demanded affidavits for the children.
According to South African immigration officials at the border, a parent or guardian intending to travel to South Africa in the company of minor children was now required to produce an affidavit signed by the other parent or both parents in the case of those travelling with a guardian before the child's passport is stamped.
The document is reportedly required for children below the age of 17.
The development sparked an outcry from travellers who are complaining that their travelling rights were being infringed upon yet they had the necessary travelling documents.
The assistant regional immigration manager-in-charge of Beitbridge Border Post, Mr Charles Gwede, confirmed that several Zimbabwean mothers were denied entry into South Africa for failing to produce the required documents.
"Since May, we have been handling cases of local women who intended travelling into South Africa in the company of children aged 16 and below being denied entry. In fact, we held a meeting with our South African counterparts and they argued that it was in line with their new immigration laws," he said.
There are indications that the new development could be aimed at reducing child trafficking across the Limpopo River.
Co-Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi last week said his South African counterparts might have adopted the United Nations Protocols on Convention against Transnational Organised Crime, one of them being child and women trafficking.
The development has breathed life into the business of cross-border transporters, commonly known as omalayitsha, who are back in business as they are now reportedly cashing in on those who would have been turned away with their children to illegally cross the border.
Usually, minor children travel to South Africa when schools close to join their parents based in the neighbouring country.
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