Zim travellers allege abuse by SA immigration

via Zim travellers allege abuse by SA immigration | The Zimbabwean 17 July 2014

Zimbabwean travellers are alleging repeated harassment by South African immigration officials and police at Beitbridge border post.

The number of people crossing into South Africa has increased in recent months due to the economic crisis that followed the 2013 elections. The South African head of immigration at Beitbridge, who identified himself as Mavhungo, told The Zimbabwean that they were handling up to 20,000 travellers per day.

Most of the visitors are regular cross-border traders who travel to South Africa to buy basic commodities, electrical goods and clothes for resale in Zimbabwe.

“The police and immigration officials have become very rude. Once they suspect you of jumping the queue, they can even beat you up. A lot of innocent people have been assaulted by the immigration officials,” said Theresa Mugari, 30, a trader from Chitungwiza, who travels to Musina every two weeks to buy clothes for resale.

Zimbabweans blamed the SA officials for causing disorder. “These people take their time and they are always shouting at us. It is now common to wait for four to five hours before they start processing your passports, especially when you are travelling as a pedestrian. We are too afraid to complain,” said one visitor who identified herself as Mai Tadiwa.

“The people who stamp your passports treat you like animals. Sometimes they doze for about 10 minutes while holding your passport. You can’t complain because, if you do, they will order you to go to the back of the queue or even ensure that you are barred from entering South Africa,” she added.

In some cases, the officials demand R50 in order to stamp passports. Those who pay the bribes are separated from the rest and enter the departure rooms through the back door.

A reporter from The Zimbabwean witnessed the harassment on July 9, during a personal visit to South Africa. A senior immigration official resorted to throwing stones at women and snatching their handbags and passports, accusing them of “disorder”.

He also manhandled a pregnant woman who had asked for preferential treatment. “Pregnancy is not illness!” he shouted as he shoved the woman, who burst into tears.

Mavhungo professed ignorance, saying: “I have never received reports of harassment and it is difficult to verify the allegations if I am not approached. It is not true that my officers deliberately delay serving visitors from Zimbabwe or take bribes.”

He advised victims of harassment to approach him, other supervisors or shift managers with their complaints.


  • comment-avatar
    Reverend 9 years ago

    I have seen it myself and have been a victim of their hateful arrogance and those immigration officers should be ashamed of themselves as they are a scourge to south africa. Go to Botswana where both border post officers are decent and professional.

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    garayi kumba kwenyu munonga muchiendepi? zvese kuzimbabwe zviriko saka munonotsvaga chii ikoko???

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    Dongondarimwe it seems you can’t even see what is around you and you don’t need to be taken serious

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    Uri dongo chairo Dongo! !!

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    Mixed Race 9 years ago

    Those who are on permanent bondage get carried away when they taste real freedom so they get themselves into troubles with authorities.I have witnessed and intervened when Zimbabweans at the Botswana borders jump ques and demand rights they do not claim within Zimbabwe to annoy the immigration officers.I had to tell one young man to shut up because he would not open his mouth to our authorities with the same demands.Zimbabweans want to be seen clever than other Africans when they lack common sense and humility.Stop cheap tribalism and racism then our country will be like our neighbouring countries with no need to cross the borders on daily basis,putting heavy work loads to the immigration officers.

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      MEASURE FOR MEASURE 9 years ago

      well said, this is the problem we have as zimbabweans. we want to impose ourselves on others yet in zimbabwe we do not have the same rights and priviledges…

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    Zimbabweans are too much stupid enough to get themselves into trouble especially women. Dongo you are very right. We trouble other countries and we want to appear clever in their lands when we are a bunch of fools. Stop this nonsense and put your house in order. The problem with Zimboz you support a government of thugs.

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      True Hero 9 years ago

      @ Accountant you are so stupid. If people wants to support a government of thugs, let them support it. Why can’t you vote for a government which is not of thugs and bring it into power. Moreover you and Dongo are the ones who are a bunch of fools. if you do not have money to go to other countries does it mean l must also not go outside the country!!!

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    Andy Cool 9 years ago

    These people are rough
    The treatment changes with the changing seasons
    If you go in Dec its their worst season

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    Clive Sutherland 9 years ago

    The Zimbabwean customs and immigration officials at Plumtree border post were just as bad, during the many years that I crossed this border hundred of times I witnessed and was on the receiving end of corrupt and arrogant officials.

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      Where in this world have you seen an african stay in a queue without trying to jump it.Please just one person on this earth tell me they have not seen it.

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    Das Reich 9 years ago

    zimboz are stupid fools.why demand rights iin foreign countries when you cant even spit a complaint in your own country.fools

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    JRR56 9 years ago

    Zimbabweans have a reputation of bad manners, que-jumping and lying with a smart mouth. SA officials obviously are fed up with them and probably justifiably so.

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    mufirakureva 9 years ago

    So who gonna fix our economy and when will this happen tichabaiwa nokukumbira munyu panext door vano penzisira vovhara musuwo

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    Immigration Officers in South Africa are Above the law?
    I heard a I .O .woman shouting at a lady Magistrate in cape Town court what she should do etc.
    These officers allegedly harassing all the Thai massage Parlors in the Cape-demanding free massages and favors.
    Some Thai girls got locked up unlawfully and some apparently raped in Police Stations.
    If that is not Racism then I don’t know.
    Are we a real Banana Boon Republick now??

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    Grace 6 years ago

    I was presently assaulted by a Lady and immigration officer in front of my 10yr old daughter, and all the other ladies were cheering and calling me a stupid foreigner,they really treat foreigners badly