Zimbabwean parents' plea to see their children to be heard today

Gavel in front of judge
Gavel in front of judge

The plea of eight Zimbabwean parents to be reunited with their children will be heard at the Pretoria High Court at 2pm on Wednesday.

The families' advocate will ask the court to halt a plan by the Zimbabwean and South African governments to repatriate the children to a shelter in Zimbabwe.

The parents‚ Zimbabwean nationals who live in the Cape‚ had their children sent to South Africa unaccompanied on the back of a truck without travel documents in order to have them live or visit with them over the holiday season. But they claim they know where their children were.

The children never arrived in the Cape as they were taken in by the police on November 11 as victims of human trafficking and were kept from their parents in a safe house for three months.

Their current whereabouts are unknown even to parents and lawyers. Many parents are frantically trying to contact their children.

Advocate Simba Chitando is asking for an urgent interdict to stop the children’s repatriation. This application comes after the departments of Social Development and Home Affairs confirmed to TimesLIVE the children will be repatriated to Zimbabwe within days.

Home Affairs has provided a waiver as the department does not have all their documentation. The International Organisation for Migration is helping with transport to take children to Zimbabwe to be placed in a shelter‚ director Richard Ots confirmed.

Priska‚ one of the mothers‚ travelled from Cape Town to Rustenberg to see her child. She keeps saying she does not know if her child is dead or alive. “Is he dead? I am so worried!”

The court application provides affidavits from all parents and the birth certificates for seven of the eight children‚ to prove the parents' identity and parental status.

The department of Social Development did not appear in court previously. It is not clear if they will appear in court today.