South African Official Tears Up A Zimbabwean Child’s Passport
Tinashe Bello a Zimbabwean child who was living and studying in South Africa since 2015 under a visitors visa in the neighboring South Africa. The 16-year-old boy had been studying at Zonnebloem Nest High School. His mother Wadzanai Bello was working in Cape Town.
Tinashe was selected in February 2018 to represent his school in a soccer tournament in Germany. However the Germany embassy insisted that for Tinashe to be able to re-enter South Africa he should get a study visa.
The application of a study visa according to South African immigration laws cannot done whilst the applicant is in South Africa. Wadzanai, Tinashe’s mother sent her son home (to Zimbabwe) on the advice of the Visa Facilitation Centre (VFS) to apply for the study visa.
She could not accompany her son because she was working in Cape Town. Wadzanai relied on the aid of her extended family living in Zimbabwe to assist her son in applying for the study visa. She also relied on a South African family who was assisting her with money and supporting documents needed in the application process.
On September 21, court papers were filed in an application lodged against the minister and the director general (DG). They had declared a visa application by Tinashe fraudulent and banned him from returning to South Africa for five years.
Wadzanai has been separated from her son since March 2018, she say it has caused her so much pain. She only contact to her son by telephone twice a week. Tinashe Bello has missed a year of schooling as a result of the ban.
Tinashe and his family attended several frustrating appointments at the South African Embassy in Harare (Zimbabwe) without any breakthrough. A different document would be rejected each time until he was suddenly informed that his application was ‘a scam’.
Wadzani Bello in her affidavit she say, In May 2018 the South African Home Affairs official then tore up Tinashe’s passport and threw it away. Tinashe was informed that he was banned from returning to South Africa for five years.
Tinashe’s mother said in the affidavit that the DG’s dismissal of the visa application as fraudulent was substantively and procedurally unfair. This is so because Tinashe was not given an opportunity to make representations nor was he given an opportunity to exercise his right of review or appeal in terms of the Immigration Act.
According to Bello, there were no reasonable grounds to conclude that the application was fraudulent. She argued that irrelevant considerations were taken into account and relevant considerations were not considered, resulting in the decision being taken arbitrarily.
It is still unclear whether Tinashe was in fact declared a prohibited person. Wadaznai’s affidavit says a fraudulent application is not a listed ground in terms of Section 29 of the Immigration Act to make such a declaration. The DG exceeded his powers because he did not have the necessary standing to declare a person a prohibited foreigner outside the ambit of the act.
Tinashe was in possession of a valid passport and the information that was provided was correct, according to Bello’s affidavit. If there is any suspicion about the authenticity of the documents, there are other means available to the DG to verify the information.
The Department of Home Affairs has not made any comments on it yet