Answer to a question from a reader

I have been served with papers banning me from the country. I have 30 days to respond. Where do I submit an appeal?

The short answer

The answers to your questions are far from clear and we recommend contacting an organisation like Lawyers for Human Rights

The whole question

I  am served with papers under section 29 and required to submit written representation within 30 days. Where do I submit the appeal? And to which email address? Will I be required to leave the country or can I wait until I get a decision on the written representation?

My children are three years old and SA citizens.

The long answer

Thank you for your email asking where your appeal against Section 29 must be submitted, and whether you can stay in the country until your appeal is decided.

The most common reasons for which a person can be banned from entering South Africa under Section 29 are that they had been previously deported, or had been found with a fraudulent visa, permit, passport or identity document. You need to submit a written application to the Director-General of Home Affairs (DG) asking that your prohibited status be waived (overturned) and giving reasons for this.

The DG will take into consideration the reasons for the Section 29 papers being issued, the seriousness of the offence, and your personal circumstances – such as having two three year-old children who are South African citizens.

This is the online address for the Home Affairs appeal form:

From the Home Affairs website, it was not clear which of the following email addresses was the correct one for appeals, so it’s safer to copy both of them:

tel: 012 406 2504

tel: 012 406 4595

The answer to the question of whether you can stay in the country pending the outcome of your appeal is far from clear:

On the one hand, it would seem that under the Refugees Act, you cannot be arrested and deported until you have exhausted the appeal process; but on the other hand, if your visa expires before you get the answer, you may very well be in danger of being arrested. Also, given that Home Affairs is very slow and dysfunctional, you may have to wait a long time.

For all these reasons, it would be a good idea to consult an organisation like Lawyers for Human Rights. They could assist you with advice and drafting a written submission.

This is their website address:


Answered on July 11, 2019, 9:26 a.m.

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Please note. We are not lawyers or financial advisors. We do our best to make the answers accurate, but we cannot accept any legal liability if there are errors.