Source: Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg)
Honourable Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi
I know that you are a very busy man, so I will get straight to the point.
My name is Ndoji Manika, I am 23 years old.
In the year 2001, I was only two years old. I could not talk, I had no social or cultural understanding and I had no ability to make decisions. In that year, my mother immigrated to South Africa from the Democratic Republic of Congo. As soon as she arrived here, she applied for asylum. Since I was accompanying her as her child, I was placed in her file.
On 28 November 2007, six years after applying for asylum, her application was rejected. She was given 10 days to submit a notice of appeal, which she did. In 2017, a refugee status determination officer called her in and informed her that the notice of appeal she had submitted in 2007 was lost. She was asked to re-submit it, which she did. Since then, the Refugee Appeal Board has not called her for a hearing. This means that for a total of 14 years, she has been under the “Booked for Appeal Hearing” and was always being given a six-month extension on her section 22 permit.’
My mother and I have been in South Africa for a total of 20 years.
For me, things took a turn for the worst in March 2020. We went to renew our section 22 permits and I was told that I am now too old to be under my mother’s file. This was odd because my mother is the reason I am in South Africa in the first place. For over 20 years, I had been under her file, but they decided to remove me and told me that I needed to make my own file. This would then mean that I now had to apply for asylum.