Flooded section creates influx of frustrated applicants
Referring to our previous article about “Appeal application delays at Home Affairs” we would like to give you a little more comprehensive information in Part II:
The current state of the Appeals section within the South African Department of Home is sub-standard, to put it mildly. Many foreigners fighting to obtain a valid legal status in the Republic find their appeals pending for over a year. It is one of the most depressing and frustrating situations one can be in when trying to properly build a life in South Africa. Day in day out we receive calls from persons who are faced with this ordeal.
People’s lives are affected more than one can comprehend. Why is a pending appeal such a problem? The implications of the delays could be labelled catastrophic, for example bank accounts will be frozen, people become unable to travel out of the country as they will be declared undesirable. Excuses or valid reasons set aside, a person wanting to travel to Germany for the funeral of a family member who leaves South Africa without being able to produce a valid visa will not be allowed back into the country for up to 5 years.
So what can we do to help? Disappointingly little. We do not have the power to speed up the process. A few service minded, reliable and admirable people within the appeals section, unhappy themselves with the current situation, have been so kind to allow us to request for certain cases to be urgently adjudicated. However this is an exception to the current standard and happens simply because we have build relationships with them over the years. Also the number of requests we can put in is limited, so before one calls us to ask whether we can push their appeal note that we are not able to do so.
A reliable source informed us that there has not been anyone working at the appeals section, effectively the appeals section is or at least has been a ship without a captain. Improvement is promised. Recently a new manager, with a good track record, has been appointed to bring the department back up to speed. Before this can effectively be done inevitably at least another half a year will pass. There is no way around the big stack of pending appeals.
At a recent networking meeting a senior home affairs official finally confirmed that the appeals section is currently swamped due to the backlog and stated that new capacity will be made available before the end of April (we have not yet seen results but let us believe it is work in progress).
All in all, there is no denying it, your patience will be tested.
The best advise we can currently give is to make sure that landing (your paperwork) in the appeal section pile is avoided by preparing an immaculate application pack and being aware of the most common potential pitfalls.
We would happily assist with any new applications and can consult on the best specific solution for your personal case.