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Zimbabwe and South Africa Disagree on the 443 Kids

Zimbabwean parents resident in South Africa would be keen to invite their children in that country once schools closed

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Zimbabwe and South Africa Disagree on the 443 Kids

Zimbabwe's Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe has dismissed as false the reports on the interception of 42 buses carrying 443 unaccompanied children on the South African side of the Beitbridge Border Post.

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He added that the appropriate laws on trafficking in persons and immigration related charges would have been preferred on the bus crews as applicable to both South Africa and Zimbabwean laws.

Kazembe said:

We have noted with concern 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 Border Post on the South African side. We wish to categorically state that no such incident occurred.

If at all there was a case of human trafficking of minors, the buses, the drivers and the crew would now have been arrested facing human trafficking charges as guided by the Trafficking In Persons legislation common to both jurisdictions in line with our regional and international obligations.

He said Beitbridge Border Post is yet to get reports of the purported interception neither has it received children from South African authorities, deporting the children for entering in that country outside the confines of established legal provisions.

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He said Government was aware that during festive periods, Zimbabwean parents resident in South Africa would be keen to invite their children in that country once schools closed.

We are, however, aware that during the festive period, once schools close, Zimbabwe parents resident in South Africa, especially on Zimbabwe Exemption Permits, which do not allow for the inclusion of any dependants, 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.

However, of late, the South African authorities are not accepting commissioned affidavits preferring that the minors and their guardians tender affidavits commissioned by local courts.

Zimbabwe and South Africa Disagree on the 443 Kids

Reports from Pretoria on Monday said South Africa’s Border Management Authority had blocked the attempted trafficking of 443 children under the age of eight from Zimbabwe into the neighbouring country over the past few days.

It was reported that a total of 42 buses intended for South Africa were stopped and searched in a sting operation at the border post in Musina, Limpopo.

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South Africa’s Border Management Agency commissioner Mike Masiapato was quoted as saying they had activated the Zimbabwean officials to process them back into Zimbabwe.

Out of that, we found 443 children under the age of eight that were in those buses without any parent or guardian.

Fairly, they were then trafficked into South Africa. We were able to take them out of those buses.

We then engaged Zimbabwean officials and handed them over to Zimbabwe for processing.


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