OFFICIALS from Zimbabwe’s Johannesburg Consulate visited Maseru over the weekend to assist Zimbabweans in Lesotho to either renew expired identity and travel documents or replace them.
The three officials set up base at the Anglican Training Centre in Maseru West. They are expected to depart for Johannesburg tomorrow morning.
The visit is a follow up to last year’s trip when the consular staff realised that some Zimbabweans in Lesotho experience different challenges which prevent them from travelling to South Africa to access services at the consulate offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town or at the embassy in Pretoria.
The Zimbabweans in Lesotho Association (ZILA) expressed the need for the services to Zimbabwe’s High Commissioner to South Africa, David Hamadziripi, when he presented his credentials to His Majesty King Letsie III in September 2019.
Mr Hamadziripi agreed to ZILA’s request for consular services leading to consular officials’ first visit to Lesotho in December last year.
This weekend a three-member consular delegation led by Johannesburg Deputy Consul General, Chengetai Murahwa, visited Lesotho to offer services to Zimbabweans in the country. They referred all questions to Johannesburg Consul General, Melody Chaurura, saying she was the only one allowed to speak to the press on consular business.
In a telephone interview with the Sunday Express yesterday, Ms Chaurura said: “the consulate dispatched a three-member delegation, headed by Mr Murahwa as part of the broader agenda of ensuring that our nationals in the diaspora are documented and enabled to realise their full potential in the host countries.
“Zimbabwe doesn’t have a resident embassy or consular station in Lesotho, hence the periodic mobile consular exercises for the convenience of our nationals.”
On his part, ZILA deputy chairperson, Tafadzwa Chakare, said the visits were meant to make it less burdensome for Lesotho-based Zimbabweans to get new identity and travel documents.
“We encourage all people with passports that are expiring within the next 12 months to immediately come and apply for new ones. It is likely that the visits will continue annually.
“Individuals are asked to pay the same amount they would have paid in Zimbabwe or in South Africa to renew their documents,” Dr Chakare said.