A Bloemfontein businessperson who missed out on his dream holiday in Iceland because of a computer glitch has lost his damages claim against the department of home affairs.
Gerhard Jordaan instituted a damages claim of almost R280 000 against home affairs for his financial loss, emotional shock, trauma, inconvenience, disappointment, embarrassment and humiliation after missing his flight to Oslo in September 2007.
Jordaan, his wife, and two other couples were at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg for a flight to Oslo, where they were to catch a connecting flight in order to board a ship to the Arctic for the trip of a lifetime.
The rest of the group had no issues with their boarding tickets, but an Advance Passenger Processing (APP) system problem meant Jordaan was not permitted to board the flight.
Although home affairs had provided an overriding code, Jordaan missed his flight and his wife elected to stay behind with him.
The court heard than an airline agent had initially punched in the override code incorrectly, resulting in a delay.
An operations manager at SAA told the court they had previously experienced similar problems with the APP system and that he had offered to compensate Jordaan out of courtesy by booking him onto the next flight and upgrading his ticket.
The court heard that home affairs had released the new passport system for the 2010 Fifa World Cup, but that the information from some passports was not correctly captured on the database.
In Jordaan’s case, the expiry date of his passport was a day prior to the date of issue, which was clearly incorrect.
Because of the glitch in the system, home affairs had established an operational centre operating around the clock for assistance with APP-related queries.
Jordaan alleged he had missed his flight because of the negligence of home affairs.
But Acting Judge ZP Nkosi dismissed his claim.
The judge said the department of home affairs and its officials had been available around the clock to resolve passport problems and were not the cause of the delay.