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R700 000 for couple barred from re-entering SA

Source: Pretoria News, 17/11/2016

Pretoria - South African couple Mukhrar and Tasleem Ahmed went on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, but when they wanted to return, they were barred from entering South Africa.

The couple were held in Dubai after authorities indicated their names appeared on the V list (undesirable persons) of Home Affairs. They had to settle in Pakistan for six months, separated from family and their children who had remained at home in Durban with their uncle.

The couple initially claimed R3.6 million in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, for the trauma they said they and their children suffered.

The court ordered Home Affairs to pay R700 000 in damages to the couple and R50 000 to each of their two children, aged 2 and 7 in 2012.

The parents, both Pakistani, were married in terms of Islamic law.

However, Ahmed acquired South African citizenship while his wife received asylum when she first entered the country.

The couple left the country on August 5, 2012, for a two-week trip to Saudi Arabia. On their return, they were informed at Dubai airport that they could not enter South Africa.

Ahmed said after being refused permission to board the flight in Dubai, they went to Pakistan, where they remained for six months.

The separation from his children caused him sleepless nights and when they were eventually reunited, the children were terrified that they would be separated again.

He said he had no idea why his name was on the V list. But in February 2013, Ahmed successfully launched an urgent application that their names be removed from the list and they be allowed to return home.

But Home Affairs only removed his name from the unwanted person`s list weeks later.

Sam Langa, an immigration officer, testified that during 2008 he investigated cases of foreign nationals being in the country illegally.

While in KwaZulu-Natal on patrol, he stopped a vehicle occupied by a man and a woman. The man`s ID indicated he was a permanent resident and married to a South African. The man happened to be Ahmed.

He questioned him about his status in the country and Ahmed told him he was separated from his first wife, a South African, but now married to Tasleem.

According to Langa, the man was in contravention of his permit conditions which allowed him to be in South Africa, as he did not live with his South African spouse.

Langa then interviewed the first wife, Natalie, and she told him she and Ahmed had entered into a contract marriage to enable Ahmed to stay in the country. He said Ahmed was declared an illegal immigrant and due to be deported. However, he secured his release from Lindela Repatriation Centre by launching an urgent application. Home Affairs was interdicted from deporting him.

Langa told the court he was not aware why Ahmed`s name was placed on the list in the fist place or why it remained there after a judge ordered it to be removed.

Judge Nomonde Mngqibisa-Thusi found that the couple`s constitutional rights were violated when Home Affairs did not adhere to a court order to immediately remove their names from the list. Pretoria News


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