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UK accused of blocking South Africans at airports unless they pass Afrikaans test

File Picture:Pixabay

File Picture:Pixabay

Published Jun 3, 2022

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Pretoria - A number of South Africans living abroad have taken their frustrations to social media platform and accused the United Kingdom (UK) of blocking them at airports unless they pass an Afrikaans test.

Some people went as far as demanding answers from Ryanair, an Irish airline.

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On Friday morning, South African attorney Zinhle Novazi, who was travelling from Spain to London, told PowerFM during an interview that she was also required to fill in the form which was in Afrikaans.

Novazi said she was told that the reason of the questionnaire offered only in Afrikaans was because there was a high prevalence of fake SA passports.

“I was shocked, initially I asked why the questionnaire couldn’t be in English and I was told that if it was English it would have been easy for South Africans to pass, and they picked an African language which is Afrikaans,” said Novazi.

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Novazi said she told the immigration officers that less than 10% of South Africans speak Afrikaans and at least they should have gone for a prominent language like isiZulu.

“There was a back and forth and the immigration officer told me that if I have a problem, I’m allowed to raise my issues at the immigration office.”

She told PowerFM that she took a picture of the questionnaire and posted it on her Instagram to share her shocking experience.

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“I got responses, someone said they know a person who actually went through the same experience last week and they thought it’s a joke but it’s official. Some people were also complaining about the typos on the questionnaire.”

Novazi said she wrote to Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) on Monday to voice her concerns over the issue.

“They haven’t responded...but I don’t think anyone deserves to go through this.”

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Another South African who is working and doing her Master’s in London, shared her experience with SAfm on Thursday.

Even though, Dlamini did not fill in the form, she said her colleagues went through the process.

“It’s really disturbing because there seem to be quite a few occurrences on this side of the world that are just perpetuating the type South Africans should be permitted into the UK.”

Dlamini expressed her disapproval with the new law being implemented saying it further reinvigorates elements of oppression and discrimination.

According to News24, Dirco spokesperson Lunga Ngqengelele said the department was aware of the reports.

Ngqengelele was quoted saying that the department is consulting with its counterparts to deal with the issue.

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