The high demand for consular services by Zimbabweans in South Africa has resulted in many desperate people being taken advantage of by conmen who claim to be able to facilitate appointments with the embassy, an official has said.
The Zimbabwean Embassy in South Africa resumed basic consul services in August following the easing of lockdown measures put in place to contain the spread of Covid-19 by the South African government.
Services including documentation, issuing of birth, national identification documents and passports had been suspended in March when South Africa instituted lockdown measures.
All clients are being served strictly by appointment between 0900 hours and 1230 hours during week days with appointments booked via the consulate’s online platforms including Facebook.
Prior to re-opening, the consulates, both in Johannesburg and Cape Town, were only facilitating the repatriation of bodies for burial and Zimbabweans wishing to return home during the lockdown period.
However, since services resumed, conmen have been taking advantage of desperate Zimbabweans.
“The consulate is aware that it is becoming increasingly difficult for our clients to find available slots on the booking platform due to the current high demand for consular services. Consultations are currently underway with a view to address the challenge within the shortest possible time,” the consul general Melody Chaurura said in a statement.
“It has come to the attention of the consul general that our valued clients are becoming victims of conmen who are duping them of their hard earned cash based on the false promise that these cheaters would assist the appointment seeking individuals to secure appointments at the consulate.”
The consulate said admissions were based on the registered identification details; as such it was not possible for clients to exchange, buy or sell appointments.
“The appointment system is computerised as such it is not possible for any individual including consulate officials to influence the allocation of slots. Confirmed bookings are finalised and printed in advance, hence no amendments can be effected on the day of the service,” Chaurura said.-New Ziana