Airline accused of racism

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IOL news jun23 johan linders Ihsaan Haffejee Johan Henricus Linders, a Dutch national with his 10 year old daughter Bianca Ludaka. Johan and Bianca were denied entry on to a KLM flight from OR Tambo to Amsterdam despite having all the correct documentation and visa requirements. Picture: Ihsaan Haffejee

Dutch national Johan Linders and his 10-year-old daughter Bianca Ludaka are back in Lusikisiki.

The pair were prevented from boarding a KLM flight to Amsterdam last week. Linders accused the airline of “racism” because “I am white and Bianca is black”.

Linders and his daughter travelled nearly 800km from the Eastern Cape to OR Tambo airport to visit his family in Holland for his father’s 90th birthday celebration.

But when they tried to board the flight, Linders was questioned by immigration staff at the airport before being told that he and his daughter couldn’t go to Amsterdam because he did not have sufficient documentation to travel with Bianca.

Linders is Bianca’s legal guardian. He applied to court after the death of the girl’s mother, Linders’s common-law wife.

Speaking to the Saturday Star this week from his home in Lusikisiki, Linders said he had attempted to contact the Dutch Embassy.

“The last time I had contact with them was last Friday,” he said. “They told me they would have someone investigate with the KLM officials.”

When he spoke to the flight agency he had booked with, Linders was told he would have to pay an additional R6 000 to change his flight date.

“When I spoke to the embassy they told me they did not know how they could assist me any further. I was told they would investigate to find out what problems the airline had with my documentation, as I had provided all the necessary documents for our travel.”

Linders said he felt that he had been victimised. “I know the documentation I had was not the original documentation. I choose not to travel with original documents because I was robbed the last time I travelled with them.”

However, the Dutch Embassy’s Wim Schippers told the Saturday Star that Linders was prevented from boarding the flight because he did not have the original court document which states that he is Bianca’s legal guardian. His name is also misspelt on the certified copy that he produced.

Schippers said the embassy would not charge Linders for another visa for Bianca.

“The (original) documents he provided us with were sufficient for us to issue a visa for the girl. When he is ready we will reissue the visa at no cost,” Schippers said. – Additional reporting by Kashiefa Ajam

-Saturday Star


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