Cape Town – Home Affairs is threatening to boot a Pakistani man out the country because of his SA wife’s “once-off” sexual indiscretion, which led to her falling pregnant. The child is now four years old.
According to court papers submitted to the Western Cape High Court, he moved to SA in November, 2003, settling in Port Elizabeth, where he opened a cellphone business.
He met a woman shortly after his arrival, marrying her the following month.
He was issued a permanent resident’s permit in March 2004 and was applying for citizenship.
His woes began when the couple lived apart for over a year – he in PE and she in Cape Town, where she had found a job – so that they could keep the business going.
In late 2007 or early 2008, Home Affairs officials had met his wife, saying that “due to a corruption probe” at the department, “all nationals married to foreigners” had to be re-interviewed.
His affidavit said that she had been subjected to a “rigorous interrogation” over whether she’d been paid or influenced to marry him.
The validity of his permit was confirmed. He was “appalled”, however, to later learn from the department that his wife had given birth, as he hadn’t even known she was pregnant.
After confronting her, she’d admitted that she had had a “once-off sexual encounter with another man” in early 2007 and that she had asked her cousin to raise the child.
A letter from the department in June 2010 stated that his marriage was “invalid” because his wife had had a child with another man.
In order to keep his permit, he had to make submissions to show that they had had a “good-faith spousal relationship” for at least three years after the permit was issued.
Should the department find otherwise – based on what he called a “unilateral, but admittedly reprehensible act” on his wife’s part – his permit would be revoked and he stood to be “arrested and permanently expelled from this country”.
He made representations to the department in July 2010.
But more than two years later, it has yet to answer him, prompting him to take the Minister of Home Affairs and the department’s director-general, both in their official capacities, to court.
They were hauled over the coals in the Western Cape High Court on Friday, with a judge declaring them to be in contempt of court.
Judge Anton Veldhuizen’s decision follows an earlier court order in May compelling the department to provide the Pakistani man with a response to his representations within 30 days.
Still, he received no response.
His legal team, attorney Zaheer Badrudeen and advocate Shaid Bruinders, then went to court again on Friday.
Judge Veldhuizen noted that there were no lawyers in court to represent the respondents. He said it was “shocking” that a government department failed to comply with a court order, then didn’t appear in court.
The judge granted an order ruling that the minister and the director-general were in contempt of court for failing to comply with the previous order.
He ordered them to pay the man’s legal costs for Friday’s application.