A Zimbabwean pupil studying in South Africa is stuck in Harare after his visa application was branded a scam and was banned from South Africa for five years.

Tinashe Bello (16) was happily at school in Cape Town until he applied for a visa to allow him to represent his school in a German soccer tournament. Tinashe has now been separated from his mother, Wadzanai, since March this year.  Wadzanai has now taken Home Affairs to court.
Ground Up reports that Bello is being represented by the Legal Resources Centre. Tinashe has been at Zonnebloem Nest High School since 2015. Then in February he was selected to go to Germany to represent his school in a soccer tournament. But for Tinashe to leave and re-enter South Africa the German embassy insisted he get a study visa, not the visitor’s visa for which Bello had initially applied for at the Visa Facilitation Centre (VFS) in Cape Town.

On the advice of VFS, Bello sent Tinashe to Zimbabwe to apply for the study visa as an application can only be made outside of South Africa. Since she could not accompany her son because she was working in Cape Town, she relied on the assistance of her extended family in Zimbabwe and a South African family that assisted with supporting documents and money to enable Tinashe to apply for the visa.

But in May Tinashe was suddenly informed that his application was “a scam”. In her affidavit, Bello says 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 a period of five years.

Bello’s affidavit says that the action by the director general (DG) to dismiss the visa application as fraudulent was substantively and procedurally unfair. 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.

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 Director General to verify the information.

 “The Department has received the Notice of Motion from the Cape Town State Attorney’s office, on 26 September 2018, and has noted that there are allegations made against certain officials (of the Department). We have given the state attorney’s office instructions to oppose this matter. Litigation is still proceeding and the Department will be filing its papers in due course,” said David Hlabane, Media manager at Department of Home Affairs.