Directive 43 will not be known to a lot of people but for those effected by the withdrawal of it the repercussions are severe.
You have reached your twilight years and after spending many years holidaying in South Africa you have decided to make the move permanently.
You have invested into a property, sold up back in your home country and committed your hard earned money to South Africa.
You have said the hard good byes to your loved ones, shed some tears but are looking forward with much excitement to your new life.
The decision was hard as you are the only remaining family member of an elderly relative who is residing in an old peoples home. Leaving them was hard, but they encouraged you and you know they are in the right place to be looked after. Although this parting was very hard you are reassured by the fact they are only a flight away.
Leaving the tears behind, you set of with excitement as your new life beckons. You arrive and start to settle in to your new life. Make some friends, sort out banking, medical aid, employ some domestic help and can now start to sit back and enjoy some of the wonderful sunsets the Cape has to offer. Your permit application has been made and there is no reason it should not be processed quickly.
Then some bad news – the relative is dying. Of course you want to go back and see them before they die and as the only remaining relative, the funeral plans will also fall on you.
There is just one small problem, the Department has not processed your application yet, and further has withdrawn permission (Directive 43) that allows you to travel.
You are in your late 60’s yourself, in an unfamiliar country with little support system and cannot understand why this situation could occur. Surely it is not your fault they have yet to process your application, it’s not you that has not adhered to the published time lines. There must be some compassion to your circumstances surely and how can permission be withdrawn with no notice.
You are unsure what to do, you have sleepless nights and the stress and worry is not good for your health.
What you are sure of is there is no solution. If you try and leave you will be fined, worse still if you leave after the 1st April you will be declared an undesirable (under the new regulations) and potentially bared from South Africa.
You want to visit your dying relative, if you don’t it will live with you the rest of your life but there is no way you can.
This is a situation that people are facing right now!
Background to Directive 43
The Department of Home Affairs has published time lines for the processing of permit applications – 30 days. It has consistently failed in its efforts in reaching these timelines. In 2012 Intergate Immigration on behalf of nearly 1000 clients took out court action to hold the Department of Home Affairs. The action was successful.
Directive 43 was brought into being to combat this exact scenario. It directed immigration officers to let applicants leave and enter South Africa when producing evidence that their application was pending at the DHA.
This was withdrawn in March of this year leaving many people facing horrific situations.
We have written now on 4 occasions to the Department, with no response, to seek some guidance but with no replies.
Once again, akin to aspects of the impending new regulations, the Department seems to have not thought through the impact of their decisions on every day people and the hardship they are causing. One wonders who they would feel if they ever found themselves in a similar situation.
Surely the sensible thing is an interim visa that once more allows individuals the right to travel.