Answer to a question from a reader

Why have I still not heard back from Home Affairs regarding my appeal for my rejected letter of good cause?

The short answer

There is a huge backlog at Home Affairs, so the acting Director-General extended existing permits for those who applied or appealed before 20 November 2023.

The whole question

Dear Athalie

My permit expired during the Covid-19 lockdown and I was unable to renew it at the time. I applied for a letter of good cause but it was rejected. I was directed to send a letter of appeal to Home Affairs and was given an email address to send the letter to. I did this a year ago but I still haven't received any response from Home Affairs. What steps should I take to follow up on my appeal?

The long answer

You do not mention whether you were given written reasons for the rejection of your letter of good cause application, but Home Affairs is required to give such reasons for rejection in writing. 

You probably know that you have to appeal within ten days of the rejection, first to the Director-General of Home Affairs in terms of section 8(4) of the Immigration Act, and, if that is rejected, to the Minister of Home Affairs in terms of section 8(6) of the Act.

Strategies Migration Services says, “The most important thing to remember about appealing an adverse decision is that it is not a second bite of the cherry but rather a chance to correct a wrong decision.” 

A year is obviously a ridiculously long time to wait for the outcome of an appeal, but the courts have yet to lay down what a reasonable period is for an appeal to be considered, before it is considered unreasonable. (An unreasonable delay can be taken to court – but that would be costly.)

What we do know is that the reason for these excessive delays for thousands of people is the huge backlog of visa applications and appeals clogging up Home Affairs since the Covid lockdown. 

Thus, on 21 December 2023, the acting Director-General of Home Affairs, B. Mavuso, sent out a circular letter extending the existing permits of people who had applied for visas or who were appealing rejections from Home Affairs to 30 June 2024. He emphasized that this concession only applied to foreign nationals who were legally in the country and had applied or appealed via VFS Global on or before 30 November 2023. He said any further amendments would be communicated in writing.

(VFS Global is the company contracted to Home Affairs to process applications. VFS refers to Visa Facilitation Services.) 

So it seems to me that you should be covered by this extension till 30 June 2024. But I think it would be wise to ask for help and advice from one of the following organisations which have had a lot of dealings with Home Affairs:

Tel: 011 038 9709


Tel: 012 320 2943


Tel: 021 465 6433


Wishing you the best,

Answered on June 3, 2024, 1:06 p.m.

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