Rattled over Home Affairs

Tremaine van Aardt aardtt@timesmedia.co.za

A PORT Elizabeth couple has not been able to register their five-week-old son because of delays by the Department of Home Affairs in granting his mother, originally from the UK, a temporary residence permit (TRP).

As a result, the Metzler family of Lorraine – father Gary, mother Alice and son Jack – have not been able to show- off the newest addition to the family to relatives in the UK.

Alice moved to South Africa from Felixstowe in the UK in April 2008 to be with her boyfriend, Gary, whom she married in 2012.

She initially worked for SRF Industex Belting and in June 2010, went to the Home Affairs office in Port Elizabeth to update her permit to reflect her new position as campaign coordinator for Isilumko Media.

“Multiple phone calls and visits to Home Affairs to chase up this permit application were unsuccessful. I was eventually told there was no record of this application and was advised to reapply for my TRP as it had almost expired by the time I revisited Home Affairs in February last year, which I had done and received a receipt for,” she said.

“When we went for our honeymoon boat cruise in Durban in March 2012, I was refused entry because the TRP number [given on my receipt] was for a previous TRP which had already been collected and there was no reference of any subsequent applications.

“After paying a R1500 fine I was allowed to board.”

Upon returning home, they tried the Home Affairs hotline religiously, but Gary said the response was “call back in another two weeks”. They eventually received an SMS confirming the application and reference number.

“I went to follow up the SMS at the Home Affairs offices and was told there is no trace of my application and had to reapply. We were so fed up, I approached our ward councillor Gustav Rautenbach,” Gary said.

“Gustav spoke to his contacts in home affairs including Ronel Reyneke, Gaynor Lucas and Manny de Freitas, who is the shadow minister for Home Affairs but they are all still waiting on a response.”

Then, in May, Jack was born.

“My son does not have a birth certificate as our application for the TRP keeps going missing. We received confirmation this month that our third reapplication was received by head office in Pretoria but Home Affairs refuse to tell us who is handling it. All we want is to register our baby so he can visit my wife’s family in the UK.”

Home Affairs media liaison officer Lunga Ngqengelele said the matter would be investigated.

“There have been cases in the past of a similar nature which in certain cases have carried on longer than this one.

“The problem lies with the sheer numbers of people seeking residence, which creates a major backlog and slows everything down. I have contacted head office to find out if the case has been registered. If so, the department will take the necessary steps to resolve the problem,” Ngqengelele said.

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