The family of the late Elvis Nyathi, who was murdered by a mob in South Africa for not having a passport, has appealed to the Zimbabwean government to reduce passport fees to make them affordable to the generality of the citizenry.
This plea from the Nyathi family highlights the struggles Zimbabweans have to endure to obtain national documents due to factors including bureaucratic and financial challenges.
Originally from Bhewula, Sewula Village Kezi in Matopo South under Chief Malaba of Matabeleland South, Nyathi was buried at Umvutcha cemetery in Bulawayo on Saturday.
Speaking at Nyathi’s funeral service held Saturday at the Brethren in Christ Church, New Lobengula, his brother Godknows Nyathi said he was killed after he failed to produce a passport. Said Godknows:
Elvis and his wife hid behind their shack when they heard a mob going around wanting to see IDs and passports.
After they were seen hiding, Elvis on seeing the angry crowd, ran away because they were armed. They chased him, caught up with him and beat him up with weapons.
They said since you are running away you have a gun and searched his room but couldn’t find anything.
They asked for his wife’s passport and told her to give them R300 to release him.
They didn’t have the money so they took Elvis, beat him up and burnt him on the street.
Addressing mourners, Nyathi’s cousin, Mphathisi Ndlovu, implored the Government to reduce passport fees. He said:
Elvis died for not having a passport. A Zimbabwean passport is expensive.
We know some may say the one that costs a lot of money is the emergency passport but there is talk, which always causes alarm among those outside the country that we must apply for emergency passports as it comes out faster.
The emergency passport when in South Africa cost R5 000, which is money that we don’t even earn.
How was Elvis going to afford the R5 000 from his gardener’s salary? The R300 that his killers demanded from his wife is the same amount one needs to buy the passport form.
… There is also a possibility that it (the ordinary passport) will not come out, which forces us to borrow money to apply for the costly emergency passport.
Ndlovu also claimed that as soon as one produced a Zimbabwean passport outside the country, their value as a human being was reduced. He said:
Wherever you produce it, your value is reduced immediately. If you are going for a job interview and that job was paying R7 000, the pay would be reduced to R3 000.
The Government recently introduced the Electronic-passport. An ordinary passport costs US$120 while an emergency one costs US$220.