Zimbabwe businessman John Bredenkamp’s short trial in Harare last week for the “crime” of having a second passport revealed a telling level of co operation between South African and Zimbabwe police.
South African Police
South African police are aiding their Zimbabwean counterparts
South African-born Bredenkamp, who is a naturalised Zimbabwe citizen, and lives in Zimbabwe, was accused by the state-controlled press in Harare of several financial crimes. He was overseas at the time, but returned home six weeks later to face the music.
The music came in the form of a pre dawn raid on his farm outside Harare late July and he was detained in the squalor of Zimbabwe’s police cells for four days.
His Harare offices were raided and many files and hard drives confiscated. Detectives could find nothing but proceeded against him anyway, and charged him with the minor offence of having a second passport.
He admitted during the 4 am raid that yes, he did have a South African passport, but that it was in South Africa.
He had renounced his South African citizenship as required by a new citizenship law enacted ahead of presidential elections in 2002.
The South Africans allowed him to keep and use his South African passport.
He used his Zimbabwe passport into and out of Zimbabwe.
If found guilty (and some are betting the state has no case as it can’t force its laws outside Zimbabwe) he stands to pay maximum penalty of a few pence or alternatively a maximum sentence of two years.
The South Africans provided the substantial evidence against him. They confirmed he had a valid South African passport. They also provided a list of the 65 times he had entered or left South Africa using his South African passport.
Crucially, it is not a crime in South Africa to hold two passports, and yet officials there were prepared to provide this detailed “evidence” to Zimbabwe.