South Africa union boss fights deportation to Zimbabwe; wants minister to intervene


Gift Ndwandwe


SA: SUSPENDED secretary of the provincial Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) in Gauteng, Gift Ndwandwe, has asked Home Affairs Minister Ayanda Dlodlo to intervene in the citizenship row between him and the department.

Ndwandwe approached Dlodlo after an investigation by the department found that he obtained his South African ID by fraudulent means in 2004.

In October, the department's director-general Mkuseli Apleni informed him of a decision to deport him to his home country Zimbabwe.

But Ndwandwe opted to appeal against the department’s findings, delaying his deportation.

Home Affairs spokesperson David Hlabane said the deportation would be delayed until Ndwandwe had exhausted all internal remedies.

Hlabane said: “He has lodged an application for the minister to review the DG’s decision declaring him an illegal foreigner.”

Ndwandwe was arrested following the department’s investigation into the legality of his documentation. He was released after he sought legal intervention.

Last month, Ndwandwe accused the department of being politically motivated in its approach.

He said politicians were using the department to achieve ulterior motives.

Hlabane yesterday declined to be drawn into claims by Ndwandwe, saying it was not part of the department’s terrain.

“The department is not aware of any political motive. All cases referred to the department are treated equally irrespective of a person’s political or social standing,” he said.

At the time Ndwandwe had said: “It is a pity that we find ourselves in a situation whereby you will find some politicians using Home Affairs.”

However, he refused to disclose the identities of those politicians, saying he was not in a position to do so at that stage.

In one of the letters written to his lawyers, Apleni said Ndwandwe had failed to surrender his fraudulently obtained South African document and to use the opportunity to legalise his status in the country through amnesty granted via the Zimbabwean Special Dispensation that took place in 2010.

“To date, he has continued to misrepresent himself to sojourn and depart from the Republic as a citizen using a fraudulently acquired South African passport. He also submitted a fabricated school letter in support of his claim for South African citizenship,” he wrote.

Ndwandwe was suspended by Satawu pending an internal probe to establish the truth regarding his alleged fraudulent activities.

The workers’ union terminated his employment after it was advised to do so by the department.

The controversy surrounding his legality in the country emerged three months after the national union’s general secretary Zenzo Mahlangu was deported to Zimbabwe for being in the country without the necessary permits.

Ndwandwe was elected as Satawu secretary in 2015. He used to work as Mahlangu’s bodyguard and head of union security.

He was elected into the position following the killing of former secretary Chris Nkosi.


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