South African family's last chance to stay
Wed, 23 May 2012 6:30p.m.
By Jessica Rowe
A South African family unlawfully staying in Christchurch for the last two months is still waiting to hear if they will be kicked out of New Zealand.
Living without an income, they have been struggling to make ends meet – but say they’d prefer to live on the streets than be sent home.
Single mother Cherie Vermaak has been forced to sell almost all of her furniture so that she can feed her two children.
“If it was just me I would have upped and left, but there is no way I can take them back there,” she says.
The family fled South Africa five years ago for a better, safer life in New Zealand.
But it all started to go wrong when Immigration New Zealand demanded crucial overseas documents two days before Ms Vermaak’s visa expired.
Without her visa, she was fired from her city council job of four years and her 16-year-old daughter Zelda had to leave school.
“I couldn’t believe it would come to that. Especially now with my exams coming up and I was really dedicated to getting my level twos,” Zelda told 3 News.
Ineligible for any Government support, the family have had to rely on the community to keep them afloat.
“At the end of the day, this is our lives we are fighting for – literally,” Ms Vermaak says.
Late this afternoon, Immigration New Zealand gave Ms Vermaak one last chance; if she can get a job within six weeks, she will get a visa, allowing her children to remain in New Zealand.
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19/06/2012 1:11:36 p.m.
If she can find a job in 6 weeks...? She HAD a job with the city council. Give her and the kids a break. It's really dangerous in SA now and she and the kids were being proper NZealanders before.
13/06/2012 10:00:48 a.m.
Immigration is tough and in our case was unfair. Been here 12 years now, did all the right things but in the end had to cough up approx $14,000 to get our PR and that due to case officers who were, in my words, incompetent in their positions. The same officer who declined our application 6 months later approved it. Nothing had changed except my loan to pay a lawyer to help. When I questioned this they just shrugged their shoulders and blamed it on the work load. Shame on you. My kids also suffered due to this. Moekkie
26/05/2012 2:06:28 p.m.
Maverick Meyer wrote:
There is nothing left back in SA for white people.. Immigration thinks they known it all!. But they don't know nothing. It's a hard damn life, woman and girls being raped and killed because they white??. There is nothing left in South Africa and its only the start of the bad news!!!!!!... Immigration peopl will never make it in SOUTH AFRICA
24/05/2012 8:33:55 p.m.
Edward DT wrote:
I had to write a reply to MARK B. Firstly i am so embarrassed reading your comment. I am a former South African, been living here 12 years in our country. That's right this country is mine as well and sorry if i hurt your feelings but give thanks to Helen Clark for it now lets move on. Secondly, to put things straight to you economically, many South Africans coming here had to sacrifice many things and most importantly "investing" in our safety which means investing in New Zealand, which means boosting our (Nz) economy.
Back in 2003 we invested almost to a total of of $250.000 just to earn our rights to be called a New Zealand citizen. Illegal is illegal, fact is Miss Vermaak overstayed her Visa, not her welcome to New Zealand. As a integrated new zealand citizen meaning offering valuable assets, education and skills to our beloved New Zealand i may just add that your totally of the ball.
She didn't disrespect any constitution by overstaying her visa, she did that for her children. Where is your heart you old gloom? Secondly look at the bottom of the article Immigration New Zealand "extended her visa for another 6 weeks" justice maybe? I think so.
24/05/2012 1:01:36 a.m.
mark b wrote:
I had to write a reply to PETER LANGTON. firstly I was not born in new Zealand but I have spent 25 years of my life living in Auckland to which I am greatful for. I find it disgusting that any person could think that new Zealand should protect any forgeiner. New Zealand is not abliged to protect or shelter anyone except its own citizens. So if you don't have citizenship and your visa has expired you need to go back to where you came from. Its very simple. me and my family came to new Zealand in the correct legal way . We followed the law of the land. That is expected from every person entering new Zealand.
As for the free world helping to create the political unrest in south Africa what I'll say to that is leave your political issues at home where they belong new zealanders including myself firstly had absolutely nothing to do with it and.secondly don't want to hear about it . It makes me angry when forginers disrespect new Zealand especially when they are living there.
Shame on you PETER LANGTON
23/05/2012 8:02:44 p.m.
peter langton wrote:
I feel your pain although I do not have any children , ther is nothing that will get me on a plane to that hell ! I find it ironic that the same country that jumped up and down about 'racisim' do nothing to protect us south Africans who fear that murderous hell the free world helped to create ?! Apply for refugee status ! That will keep you here for another two years and by then the place will be in civil war and you will finally be safe from rape, torture, beatings for being white and murder ! FACTS THESE FOOLS HAVE NO CLUE ABOUT !!! I truly hope they soon wake up and take a stand against a ANC led bunch of criminals who have taken my home from me and many others like this family ! A frigging joke is what this immigration dept. if they had any idea what state the place was in , they would send in their Osome SAS to clean it up before smoko !! No clue Nz !! No clue !
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