Family sues home affairs over son’s botched documents

Not even the deputy home affairs minister’s intervention resulted in George Maskini, 13, getting the correct travel documents to play soccer overseas.

A woman, who is suing home affairs for denying her 13-year-old son the opportunity to attend two international soccer tournaments as a result of being issued the wrong travel documents, broke down in parliament today.

Speaking during a meeting of parliament’s portfolio committee on home affairs, Bampende Maskini repeated the heartbreaking story of how her son George was turned away at the airport twice.

Maskini arrived in South Africa in 2000 as a refugee and was granted permanent residency in 2008. Her son George was born in South Africa.

Last year George’s plight made headlines, after which deputy home affairs minister Fatima Chohan stepped in, handing George travel documents for a school soccer tournament in Thailand.

When George arrived at the airport he was prevented from boarding the plane as his travel papers said he was a South African but the bar code in the document said he was Congolese.

George was offered another trip to a soccer tournament in Dubai. However, his dream of playing overseas was again dashed when he arrived at the airport and was told his travel documents were flagged as “stolen”, said Maskini.

“That was heartbreaking. George was crying, he was really crying. We were all crying at the airport,” George’s mother told MPs.

The Maskinis have since filed a lawsuit claiming R461 000 and accusing the department of gross negligence.

A home affairs official present during the meeting said a full investigation into Maskini’s claims would be done.

African News Agency

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