Delays in court cases of families affected by new visa regulations
By Estelle Vosloo
Two families who have been separated due to the new South African visa regulations will remain apart even longer as the Cape High Court finds their situation ‘not urgent’.
Last week we reported on the Johnson family of Cape Town. After their return from a Namibian holiday Danish-born Mrs Johnson was refused re-entry into South Africa at the border post at OR Tambo International Airport.
Mrs Johnson was detained in a room for more than six hours without so much as food and water and then denied medication needed for her long trip back to her native Denmark before being deported and branded as an ‘undesirable person’ by the South African Home Affairs Department.
The Johnson family have been torn apart as mom Louise and their toddler son Samuel had to leave the country while her husband returned to their Cape Town home.
In a similar case David Henderson is stranded in Zimbabwe after he narrowly exceeded his work permit. Henderson’s wife Cherene Delorie was emotional when she told the media that David had missed their son Dylan’s fourth birthday. This family also lives in Cape Town and Henderson has now also been labelled as an ‘undesirable’.
We believe more families are being torn apart by the latest legislation where by any foreign nationals whom have overstayed their visa specifications, often unintentionally, have been barred from re-entering the country for up to five years.
After a two year wait for the approval of her spousal visa US citizen Shaima Herman have been declared an ‘undesirable person’ in South Africa. Herman has now launched an urgent application to the Western Cape High Court reported The Times.
New World Immigration’s CEO Robbie Ragless spoke to German born Dr Pragner who told her story. We reported on 6 June 2014;
“The supervisor at passport control issued Rebecca with a document declaring her as an undesirable person and she was told that the decision could be appealed by writing to the Director General.
“Dr Pragner entered an appeal but at this stage the outcome is pending. “I have to say, that with my banning from the country, the South African government declared someone as undesirable, who is firstly due to her profession an asset to the community, who has never committed a crime or acted against any law in any country and who is living in a life partnership with a South African citizen and is engaged to get married,” said Rebecca in conclusion.”
In what is expected to be a landmark case for everyone affected by the new visa regulations both the Henderson’s and the Johnson’s took their case to the Western Cape High Court last week.
Both families brought urgent applications to revoke the effects of the new visa regulations on their spouses.
The case was heard by Judge James Yekiso who ruled that both Mrs Johnson and Mr Henderson’s cases would be postponed to this week. He cited that no significant harm could come to the family units while final judgement is pending.
Appearing in court on behalf of the director general was senior counsel William Mokhari who argued that the case should be postponed to allow his team to prepare for the case.
Reported by the Cape Argus Mokhari said that as the case was not urgent the affected parties could stay in their respective home countries.
“Is a house on fire? Is somebody dying? She is not in a foreign country; she is in her home country,” he said, speaking of Louise Egedal Johnson.
About Henderson, Mokhari said: “He is basically at home.”
Both senior counsel Anton Katz, on behalf of the Johnsons, and David Borgstrom, acting for the Henderson family argued that the case was a violation of the families’ constitutional right to be a family unit.