Will Beitbridge Border Post open from 3 to 10 May to allow Zimbabweans trapped in South Africa’s lockdown to troop back home?

VERDICT: FALSE

The Zimbabwean Community in South Africa, an organisation involved with the day to day welfare of Zimbabweans in that country said they were not aware of such a development and so is the Zimbabwean Embassy South of the Limpopo.

It is also important to highlight that right from the onset, the way the notification has been crafted betrays its authenticity and credibility. The message has wrong spellings for words such as “accommodate”, “border” and “paid”.

The claim is therefore unfounded and should be dismissed forthwith.

SOURCE: Viral WhatsApp message

A viral message circulating on WhatsApp reads:

S.A / Zim boarder to open on the 3rd of May 2020 to the 10th of May 2020 in regard to accomodate Zimbabweans who are stranded in the South African lock down which is intended to end in August.Whether one has travel documents or not the boarder between S.A and Zim is opening on the 3rd to the 10th of May 2020.Employers should by the period have payed their employees their salaries for transport. thank you for your co-operation

BACKGROUND

Both Zimbabwe and South Africa are under COVID-19 five-week national lockdowns, which initially began as 21 days but had to be later extended by further two weeks.

South Africa’s lockdown expires on April 30, while that one of Zimbabwe ends on May 3.

Media reports from South Africa do not in any way suggest that lockdown could be further extended to end of August.

The communication to the effect that Beitbridge Border Post will open from 3 to 10 May 2020 to facilitate the return of both documented and undocumented Zimbabwean expatriates trapped in South Africa’s lockdown to be extended to August 31, is clearly a fabricated message.

On top of misspelling names in the message, the author provides a misleading link, southafricanews which has nothing to do with the subject communicated.

While Zimbabwean Home Affairs Minister, Kazembe Kazembe, and South African ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mphakama Mbete, were not readily available for comment Thursday, spokesperson for the Zimbabwe Community in South Africa, Bongani Mkwananzi, said the association was not aware of that.

“The embassy (Zimbabwean Embassy in South Africa) said they’re not aware and cannot comment,” said Mkwananzi.

“As far as we have inquired, the embassy has no knowledge of this message.”

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