Birth cer­tifi­cates give dad grey hairs

CityPress - - News - ELAINE SWANEPOEL news@city­

largely from ex­ag­ger­a­tion and dis­tor­tion of facts”.

On Thurs­day, home af­fairs spokesper­son May­ihlome Tsh­wete told City Press: “There are thou­sands of thou­sands of peo­ple com­ing to the coun­try with­out a prob­lem.”

In an un­prece­dented move, the depart­ment de­cided to release the ports of en­try sta­tis­tics for trav­ellers ar­riv­ing from the UK. Be­tween Novem­ber 1 and De­cem­ber 23, there was a 3% in­crease, from 79 998 in 2014 to 82 772 this year.

De­spite this, the Southern African Tourism Ser­vices As­so­ci­a­tion said the reg­u­la­tions were hurt­ing the in­dus­try.

On Wed­nes­day, the as­so­ci­a­tion’s CEO, David Frost, said: “We should be grow­ing our key mar­ket in dou­ble dig­its with the ex­change rate we have at the mo­ment.”

Tsh­wete, how­ever, said home af­fairs was not re­spon­si­ble for tourism fig­ures: “The re­quire­ments are well ex­plained and thou­sands of peo­ple have come to South Africa with­out a prob­lem. The com­pli­ance rate is above 90%.”

Asked to clar­ify if this meant that up to one in 10 peo­ple weren’t meet­ing the re­quire­ments, Tsh­wete said: “I’m say­ing a large num­ber of peo­ple come to the coun­try ver­sus those who get re­jected.”

Tsh­wete said that since it was the air­lines turn­ing peo­ple away and not home af­fairs of­fi­cials, only the air­lines would be able to con­firm ex­act fig­ures.

City Press con­tacted Bri­tish Air­ways and Vir­gin At­lantic, two of the ma­jor air­lines fly­ing from the UK, but both said they were un­aware of any ma­jor is­sues.

“We have done ev­ery­thing we can to let fam­i­lies know, and we rec­om­mend all cus­tomers check the visa re­quire­ments of the coun­try they are trav­el­ling to be­fore they leave for the air­port,” said a Bri­tish Air­ways spokesper­son. It was a gru­elling 52-hour trip from their home in Canada to South Africa for the five-mem­ber Wasser­man fam­ily. And it also didn’t help that they left their chil­dren’s unabridged birth cer­tifi­cates be­hind.

Lukas and Anelia Wasser­man and their three chil­dren, aged five, nine and 11, caught a flight from Hal­i­fax to Mon­treal on De­cem­ber 15. Their flight was de­layed be­cause of a tech­ni­cal prob­lem and they had to wait for two days for their con­nect­ing flights to Cape Town via Chicago and the Nether­lands.

“We were at the air­port on Wed­nes­day [De­cem­ber 16] to get new meal and ac­com­mo­da­tion coupons when we re­alised that we’d left the chil­dren’s unabridged birth cer­tifi­cates at home,” said Anelia (43).

Lukas (43) had to catch the last flight back to Hal­i­fax and drove for two hours to their house in Antigo­nish to fetch them. Then he boarded a flight back to Mon­treal to make it in time for their 8am flight to Chicago – an ex­er­cise that cost the fam­ily an ex­tra $1 000 (R15 600).

“And when we landed on Satur­day in Cape Town, the of­fi­cials did not even look at the birth cer­tifi­cates,” Anelia laughs.

“We se­ri­ously con­sid­ered turn­ing around and book­ing an­other flight just be­fore Christ­mas, but the chil­dren were de­ter­mined be­cause ‘granny and grandpa are wait­ing for us’.”

– Rap­port


HOL­I­DAY WOES Anelia and Lukas Wasser­man had to en­dure a gru­elling trip to SA from Canada with their chil­dren to visit fam­ily over the hol­i­days

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