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Visa negligence gets UK baby banned from SA

Officials say the UK-born child had overstayed on her visa by 18 days and would be banned for 5 years.

FILE: Officials say the UK-born child had overstayed on her visa by 18 days and would be banned for 5 years.

JOHANNESBURG - A mother whose ten-month-old child has been banned from entering South Africa for five years said she is distraught that her daughter will not be able to see her father or the rest of her family.

Nadine Labuschagne, who currently lives in the UK with dual citizenship, was in the country on maternity leave earlier this year to introduce her daughter to her family.

Labuschagne is attempting to appeal the process while residing in the UK.

When she tried to leave the country more than three months later, officials informed her that her child, born in the UK, had overstayed on her visa by 18 days and would be declared undesirable.

Labuschagne said she was unaware that she would need to apply for an extension for her daughter to stay in South Africa for more than three months.

"If I had known, I'd have bought a visa, I'd never, ever jeopardise the situation for us."

While she and her baby live in the UK, her child's father and most of her family are in South Africa.

The Home Affairs Department said it will not tolerate a contravention of regulations especially in cases where people have been negligent.

The department said an extension should have been applied for if the mother intended to keep her baby in the country for longer than authorised.

The department said it has to take action against foreigners who overstay their visit to the country regardless of their age.

Home Affairs spokesperson Mayihlome Tshwete said the department can't be expected to ignore people who overstay when measures to legally extend visits are available.

"When a person decides that first they're going to overstay and secondly they're not going to apply for an extension, it becomes problematic."

Tshwete said the length of the term is depended on several factors.

"How you figure out the time is based on how long the person overstays."

Those who have been declared undesirable can appeal the matter but will have to prove that they unsuccessfully followed available channels.

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