Zimbabwean authorities have refuted an announcement that was made by South Africa’s Minister of Home Affairs, Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi which said the country’s Border Management Authority intercepted forty-two buses which were transporting four hundred and forty-three unaccompanied minors.
In a statement, the Zimbabwean government said it has not recorded any incident of buses that were intercepted while carrying unaccompanied minors at Beitbridge Border Post
“We have noted with concern the media statements attributed to the Minister of Home Affairs, Republic of South Africa, Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, alleging that 42 buses carrying 443 unaccompanied minors were intercepted at Beitbridge boarder post on the South African side. We wish to categorically state that no such incident occurred,” reads the statement.
The Zimbabwean government has called for accurate information to be shared through established communication channels between the two countries, urging any contrary evidence to be presented.
“To date, Beitbridge border post has no record of any forty two buses denied entry into South Africa or four hundred and forty three minors intercepted or handed over to Zimbabwean Authorities. If there is any information to the contrary, we hope to be advised through well established communication channels between the two countries,” the statement reads.
However, the Zimbabwean authorities acknowledged the practice of Zimbabwean parents, particularly those residing in South Africa on Zimbabwe Exemption Permits that do not permit the inclusion of dependents, of inviting their children to join them for the festive season.
“We are however aware that during the festive period one schools close, Zimbabwean parents’ resident in South Africa especially on Zimbabwe Exemption Permits, which do not allow for the inclusion of any dependents, invite their children to South Africa for the festive season. It is a requirement that the minors travel with their guardians accompanied by supporting affidavits obtained from their consenting parents in line with agreed procedures,”.
The South African Authorities have recently tightened their requirements, rejecting commissioned affidavits and instead insisting on affidavits commissioned by local courts for both the minors and their accompanying guardians.