GEORGE NEWS - The Director-General (DG) of Home Affairs was found in contempt of court and fined R50 000 for not carrying out a court order that a Belgian woman, who is a property and business owner in George, be allowed back into South Africa.
Monique van Vlierberghe, who started a business (ShowMe.com) in George a few years ago, overstayed in South Africa after forgetting to renew her visa in 2017.
Home Affairs subsequently declared her an undesirable person in terms of the Immigration Act, 'flagging' her Belgian passport on the national database.
After returning to Belgium in May 2017 for work purposes, she has been struggling to re-enter the country.
An overstay appeal was launched, but there was no response from Home Affairs. According to her attorney, Arno Crous of Millers Attorneys, there have since been four High Court applications to get her case resolved, but to no avail.
The fine against the DG was issued in October 2019. In June this year, the Gauteng High Court also overturned the department's decision to declare Van Vlierberghe an undesirable person, but still Home Affairs remains mum.
"It should be as simple as pressing a button to deflag her passport," said Crous.
Warrants have been issued for the bailiff to seize computer equipment at the Pretoria offices of Home Affairs to be sold so that Van Vlierberghe's legal costs can be paid, as ordered by the court.
Her boyfriend and business partner, Tiaan Viljoen, also lives in George.
A frustrated Van Vlierberghe told George Herald that she had to spend a lot of money on legal costs.
"I am not a criminal. I do not even have a parking ticket against my name. Home Affairs has been convicted in court. How can they get away with such poor service?"
The Home Affairs media communications department said the newspaper's query was receiving attention.
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