- A UK couple's dream holiday was turned into a nightmare when they were not allowed to leave Lanseria airport
- Home Affairs had deemed that the couple were "high risk"
- A lawyer hired by the couple was finally able to allow the couple to leave
James Hagan and partner Anne Heeks, a couple from the United Kingdom, came to South Africa to celebrate Anne's 60th birthday. The dream trip turned into a nightmare.
Home Affairs forced the couple to stay at Lanseria airport after they were deemed as high risk. The couple had chartered a pilot for their trip and after landing in South Africa after leaving ZImbabwe, Home Affairs decided the couple could not enter South Africa, despite having the necessary documents and health tests.
They hired a lawyer from Cape Town, William Booth, who fought for the couple's release.
“The couple were celebrating Anne’s 60th birthday with a trip to Africa. They arrived in Africa well before the corona crisis and flew to Lanseria with all the required paperwork from Zimbabwe. Yet, Home Affairs deemed them high risk according to new visa restrictions because they are from the UK - even though they haven’t been there since January.”
While their lawyer battled it out with Home Affairs, the couple had to sleep in a van on the tarmac, only being allowed inside the airport to use the toilet.
Hagan is a wealthy man, the owner of Northern Ireland's largest homebuilders. His partner, Anne, is a retired respiratory nurse, she was desperate to get back to help with the outbreak in the UK.
“This should have been resolved with one phone call to the director-general, who could have arranged for my clients to be escorted to their UK flight,” said Booth.
“Instead, I spent two days cutting through ridiculous red tape before Home Affairs saw reason and freed my clients, who are in their sixties.
“They were caused severe inconvenience and a great deal of trauma. This is not the way the government should deal with tourists.”
In other news, Briefly.co.za has revealed that Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu has resorted to apologising for her comments on the coronavirus.
Zulu had ignored the numerous calls to self-isolate during this difficult time for the nation, jokingly saying that:
"Stay at home if you can, I am finding it difficult to stay at home."
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