Home » Arts & Culture » Immigration Department Clears Air Over Freshlyground’s Ban

The Department of Immigration has challenged organisers of the just-ended Harare International Festival of the Arts to inform their audiences that they brought in South African group Fresh-lyground when they knew two days before that the group did not have a work permit. Immigration principal director Mr Clemence Masango yesterday said Hifa organisers appeared to have entertained “a false and misplaced hope” of a chance for an 11th hour intervention and possible arm-twisting of the department. Freshlyground, who were billed to perform at the closing ceremony of HIFA on May 4, failed to secure visas and temporary employment permits to allow them to work in Zimbabwe.

Freshlyground claimed on its Facebook page that Hifa organisers and themselves had followed all requisite permit requirements and “indications prior to this was that the band would be allowed to perform in the country”.

But Mr Masango said they had no option but to turn back the band at the Harare International Airport.

“Firstly, Freshlyground were never deported,” he said. “They never at any time on the day in question entered Zimbabwe. The correct and official position is that Freshlyground were denied entry for the reason now common knowledge – that they did not have the requisite permit from the Department of Immigration.

“This decision by the Department of Immigration was communicated in writing to Hifa organisers well before May 2, 2014.”he said.

Source : The Herald