Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
Zimbabwe’s Envoy to South Africa has urged people to ignore a public notice claiming that it has started processing e-passports for its nationals in the neighbouring country.
The country’s Consul-General to Johannesburg, Melody Chaurura said they had noted with concern that there were fraudsters and scammers circulating a fake notice to the effect that they were now handling e-passport applications virtually.
The message has been circulating widely online since Monday morning.
Mrs Chaurura said Zimbabweans should note that such passports were being processed only in Bulawayo and Harare.
“It has come to our attention that there is a document, dated 25 April 2022, bearing our letterhead and stamp inviting members of the public to apply for virtual consular services and the assistance in applying for 24 hours express urgent electronic/biometric passports.
“The public is hereby advised that the ‘public notice’ is fake and should be disregarded with the contempt it deserves. It is certainly the work of scammers and fraudsters who always seek to use the good name of the Consulate to swindle nationals’ hard-earned cash.
“As noted in our public notice on 8 February 2022, currently the new e-passport can only be applied for in-person at the Passport office in Bulawayo and Harare,” said the Consul-General.
Mrs Chaurura said Zimbabweans in South Africa can still visit the Consulate in Johannesburg or in Cape Town to apply for passports in the usual way.
She urged members of the public to note that the embassy in Pretoria or the consulate in Johannesburg and Pretoria had no agents who act on its behalf.
“Members of the public are encouraged to verify facts before committing to anything that requires payment,” she said.
In 2020, the embassy reported to the police another scammer who was running a clandestine agriculture inputs scheme purporting to be the Ambassador to Pretoria (David Hamadziripi).
The man was targeting cabinet ministers, parliamentarians, and businesspeople impersonating the ambassador calling people and telling them that they have been selected to benefit from an agriculture inputs program and that they must pay certain amounts of money to him for transportation and delivery of the inputs.
He charged figures ranging from R6000 to R20 000 depending on the intended victim. @tupeyo