Zim embassy in SA suspends services
SENIOR STAFF WRITER
ZIMBABWE’S consulate in Johannesburg, South Africa, has suspended the issuance of temporary travel documents (TTDs) and repatriation certificates owing to a coronavirus (Covid-19) suspected case at its offices.
This comes as South Africa’s confirmed Covid-19 cases were now more than 37 000, including 700 deaths and 19 000 recoveries.
It also comes as scores of Zimbabweans were seeking to return home as many have lost their sources of income due to the national lockdown in the neighbouring country.
“Reference is made to the consulate’s earlier public notices relating to the suspension of regular consular services since the beginning of the lockdown in South Africa.
“Members of the public are hereby further advised of temporary suspension of the issuance of both temporary travel documents and repatriation certificates with immediate effect.
“This precautionary measure has been taken against the background of a suspected Covid-19 case at the mission, hence the need to allow time for thorough medical investigations and decontamination of the institution before reopening doors to our valued clients,” read the statement.
“In the meantime, service will be restricted to the electronic processing of repatriation clearances in respect of deceased Zimbabwean nationals” further read the statement.
Zimbabwe’s consul-general to Johannesburg, Melody Chaurura further told the Daily News that the consulate had closed its offices and suspended its services and that those with valid passports and funds were free to organise their travel back to Zimbabwe.
“Yes the consulate has closed all other services until further notice and we are not issuing any documents.
“But if people wish to travel, they may buy their own ticket from buses like BNC, Eagle Liner, Mzansi provided you have a valid passport,” Chaurura said.
So far Zimbabwe has repatriated over 3 000 people, including ex-convicts, from South Africa, while 700 bodies of Zimbabweans who passed away in the neighbouring country have also been repatriated into the country.
Many of the returnees have been placed in 21-day mandatory quarantine for testing and screening for the killer disease.