I am sharing that experience in the hope to make things change for better...
We arrived in South Africa in 1998, after spending 4 years travelling through Africa (Living Your Dream).
We invested all our hard-earned money in our new business and build our own house on the slope of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve in Gordon's Bay (Cocagne Earth Lodge).
At the time, it was not easy to get a business visa for working in own company, but I finally got mine after 3 months from the Embassy of South Africa in Belgium.
For many years, we worked hard building our life, our family – Enya (2000) and James (2002) – and our businesses in the Western Cape. We developed several business initiatives and employed several local people.
Gordon's Bay was our home. South Africa had become our home country.
Every 2-3 years, we had to renew my business permit.
In 2005, Home Affairs (HA) recommended that we apply for permanent residence (PR), and we did.
A year later, we heard that HA had lost our application, so we had to re-submit.
In 2009, 3 years later, without any previous communication from HA and after insisting to know the outcome of our PR application, we were told that it was rejected because of 4 missing documents.
BUT these 4 documents were in the file!
At the time, I was lucky to have a direct contact to the Director General of HA in Pretoria, through a friend. So I was invited by the Western Cape Regional Director, and in no time, with the help of his assistant, an appeal application was compiled and I received 6 years extension for my business visa.
HA Cape Town senior officers told me that if my business visa had been renewed 4 times, there should be no problem to get the PR based on the same criteria!
In 2011, we tried to follow up the PR appeal and despite many visits, phone calls and emails sent to HA... nothing happened. We repeated the investigation several times and this year, I made even more enquiries in February and March, as my business visa was expiring at the end of April. All this in vain!
So the only option was once again to extent the temporary visa as the PR was not finalised yet... which I did on 12 March 2015 via the new private company VFS in Cape Town.
The irony of this story is that on 23 April, VFS informed me that my application was rejected by HA with the only stipulated reason being : wrong category.
BUT it was the right category!
The only option was to appeal and pay again VFS fee, which I did on 29 April.
Even though I am claiming to be very positive, the latest developments of that endless story is for sure affecting my energy level and positive vibe... but I will survive!
When I was at VFS, the day my application was rejected, I found that MANY people are suffering from the same incompetance of HA, and that is why I decided to publish my story.
I sincerely hope that this message will contribute to making things change for the better!