GDE says school letter threatening to take immigrant children to police must be withdrawn

This after non-South African parents were encouraged to sort out their documentation in order to comply with immigration regulations.

The Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) on Friday requested the Eastleigh Primary School to withdraw its letter that threatened foreign nationals that their children will be sent to the police station if their immigration documents weren’t updated.

The letter to parents who are foreign nationals, requested them to update their information by producing original immigration permits or face the prospect of having their children removed from the school by the police.

The school said had been visited by SA home affairs officials whom it said instructed it to take the drastic action.

However, GDE spokesperson Oupa Bodibe on Friday said the department had requested the school to withdraw it.

“As the department we support the need to comply with laws of the country, but caution that we need to be sympathetic and deal with it with empathy,” said Bodibe.

“So the school has been asked to withdraw the last statement, where it was threatening to send the children to the police station, but rather to tell parents that if they don’t comply they must keep their children at home.”

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The incident follows recent remarks by Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba, who reiterated the call for illegal migrants to be apprehended.

Additionally, the Department of Home Affairs released information regarding study permits for pupils. The permits are issued to children not born in South Africa and are valid for nine years in the case of primary school pupils and seven years for pupils in high school.

Basically, permit rules require pupils to :

  • Have a study permit if they are born out of SA
  • Have a study permit if they were born in SA but have foreign parents as they are considered foreigners. The child’s parents are also required to have permits
  • Asylum seekers can renew their paperwork in SA
  • Asylum seekers’ paperwork is only valid for six months
  • Refugees can also renew documents in SA; the paperwork is valid for four years
  • Study permits are issued for nine years for primary schools and seven years for high school. The name of the school on the permit is the only one the child must attend and if they change, they must apply for a new one
  • Pupils cannot use same permit in high school as the primary school is only applicable to that school

Cost of study permit =-R450

Permanent Residence -R1350

Asylum seeks and refugees -no charge

– Additional reporting by African News Agency

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