Facebook / Michelle Humphrey
Cape Town - As one of the most popular tourist destinations in Africa, South Africa is also a cruise destination of note.
As a result, one UK couple’s dream trip to the country with Crystal Cruises has quickly turned into a bureaucratic immigration nightmare when their ship docked in Cape Town last week, and they were declared undesirable for matters beyond their control.
According to an SA People interview with the couple's daughter, Michelle Humphreys, the elderly couple, Joan and Alexander Klein from London were sailing from Mauritius to Cape Town on 23 December when the bureaucratic error took place.
Humphrey says, "as part of the immigration procedure, their passports were presented to the authorities, at which point the immigration officer declared that their passports had not been exit stamped on their last stay in South Africa in December 2014, when embarking on a cruise from Cape Town to Singapore."
The couple have since been accused of remaining in SA illegally for the last 649 days and have since been issued them with a Declaration of Foreigner as an undesirable person, effectively banning them from entering the country for 5 years, in effective immediately.
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Humphrey, who took to social media to gain support says in the report the immigration officer refused to look at more than 10 visa stamps in their passports for countries they have passed through in the last two years, which
"prove irrevocably that they have not been illegally residing in South Africa".
The UK couple now face lengthy and costly delays to overturn the "senseless" ban, with the matter further impacted over the festive season period when very little could be done about it.
Furthermore SAPeople reports Humphrey and her parents have consulted with an immigration lawyer, Gary Eisenberg, who has advised that it could take months to lift the ban.
The Klein's will now disembark in Namibia on 3 January 2018 – which is part of the second part of their cruise and will fly home via Amsterdam to London.
“Not ideal, and costing a fortune as it’s peak time but it’s the only option as my parents can’t set foot on SA soil,” she says.
"My elderly parents have very few options as due to the ban, they are not permitted to disembark the ship in Cape Town when their cruise ends on January 7th 2018!”
Added to that, Humphrey points out that the South African immigration authorities in Cape Town have “now made two gross mistakes – by firstly not exit stamping my parent's passports back in 2014, and now issuing them with a ban for the very same thing.”
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