Visa rules need some flexibility

I AM a Zimbabwean who came to South Africa to look for employment because of the economic situation in Zimbabwe. On entry I was given a 90-day visa.

I went back to Zimbabwe and returned to South Africa six days before my visa expired. I was told to come back on the exact date of its expiry.

I went back to Zimbabwe. On the day I arrived at the Beit Bridge border post at 11.45pm and found long queues and confusion because of renovations being carried out. I reached the counter at 12.30am.

I was shocked when I was told I had overstayed and had to pay a fine of R1000.

I tried to explain to the supervisor, who told me that was why they were called "Horror Affairs".

This sounded improper to me since he did not seem concerned or interested.

I appeal to the authorities to consider giving a grace period of a day or two, especially considering the fact that the temporary residence permit allows us to find temporary employment, where we would also seek permission to travel.

The other reason is that as people travel from far and wide to the border there is a possibility of vehicle breakdowns and traffic jams, which might also cause delays.

This rigidity of immigration officials not to extend periods of stay even for four or five days before visas expire is negatively affecting those of us who want to legalise our stay in South Africa.

I hope for some form of intervention will be made to help us.

Patience Dhliwayo, Zimbabwe