CityPress - - Business - Capitec Bank, Lone­hill: Post Of­fice, Lone­hill: Dou­glas­dale Po­lice Sta­tion: Stan­dard Bank, Ni­col­way Shop­ping Cen­tre: FNB, Ni­col­way: Morn­ing­side Po­lice Sta­tion: – Tina Weavind

Get­ting hold of unabridged birth cer­tifi­cates is not the end of the bu­reau­cratic process. If two par­ents are named on a child’s birth cer­tifi­cate but one is trav­el­ling alone with the child, that par­ent needs to get an af­fi­davit from the other par­ent giv­ing his or her con­sent to take the child out of the coun­try.

I took a hand­writ­ten con­sent let­ter, along with copies and orig­i­nals of chil­dren’s birth cer­tifi­cates to a Post Of­fice, three banks and two po­lice sta­tions to try to get them no­tarised.

A bank em­ployee at the en­trance said they could not help.

“No, we are not do­ing ‘those stamps’,” she said, re­fer­ring to the stamp a com­mis­sioner of oaths uses.

The sin­gle teller was adamant. “No, we don’t com­mis­sion hand­writ­ten doc­u­ments,” she said.

One of­fi­cer said I did not need con­sent from the chil­dren’s fa­ther as both boys had my sur­name and not his. The sec­ond of­fi­cer said this wasn’t so, and I def­i­nitely needed the fa­ther’s con­sent.

I was told I needed to pro­duce not only orig­i­nals, but also copies of the unabridged birth cer­tifi­cates and pass­ports. And the con­sent form could not be hand­writ­ten. They would only ac­cept and com­mis­sion the af­fi­davit if it was printed off home af­fairs’ web­site. They did not have a printer.

They did not have the re­quired stamp to com­mis­sion the af­fi­davit. No stamp ei­ther.

The of­fi­cer was friendly and con­fi­dent and handed over an af­fi­davit form, say­ing the fa­ther needed to write out the state­ment and come to sign it in front of him. been af­fected at all. The “US mar­ket has grown beau­ti­fully and Africa is grow­ing all the time”.

The ef­fect of the Chi­nese-mar­ket re­trac­tion was not of ma­jor con­cern to the com­pany be­cause Chi­nese visi­tors made up only 8% of the to­tal.

“But our in­dus­try is just a por­tion of where these tourists spend,” he said, cit­ing the vast an­cil­lary in­dus­tries – in­clud­ing tour op­er­a­tors, craft shops, duty-free shops and even the pro­cessed-diamond in­dus­try – as be­ing neg­a­tively af­fected by the shrink­age.

Erik Ven­ter, CEO of Co­mair, which op­er­ates bud­get air­line Ku­l­ula and the lo­cal Bri­tish Air­ways fran­chise, said his com­pany had def­i­nitely no­ticed a change in tourism ca­pac­ity. He said this was most ev­i­dent when look­ing at the ef­fect on tourism­fo­cused des­ti­na­tions out of South Africa, such as Vic­to­ria Falls, Liv­ing­stone and Wind­hoek. The in­crease in visi­tors from the US, UK and Europe – which was slight – was prob­a­bly a re­sult of the col­lapse in the ex­change rate.

Ven­ter said the prob­lem with read­ing too much into these mar­kets was that they were “ma­ture”. If there was any growth in visi­tor num­bers from such coun­tries, it would be mi­nor and likely to re­turn to a base level.

The Asian mar­ket, though, had been grow­ing at about 74% a year, an ex­po­nen­tial fig­ure, be­fore the reg­u­la­tions came into play. Ven­ter said that at the rate this mar­ket had been grow­ing, it had been primed to be South Africa’s big­gest tourism mar­ket in five years. “In the­ory, it could have dou­bled the en­tire in­dus­try in this pe­riod.”

Ven­ter said that, as far as gov­ern­ment was con­cerned, “as long as it doesn’t shrink, it’s OK”.

Tsh­wete ad­mit­ted that the way doc­u­ments were pro­cessed could be im­proved and glitches – such as de­lays in de­liv­ery – could be fixed.

“We can change how we do it,” he said, but the core fun­da­men­tals of pro­tect­ing chil­dren must not be de­bated. “The con­sent [af­fi­davits] and unabridged birth cer­tifi­cates ... those can­not be changed.”

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