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All’s well that ends well for the Schapiro family

  • Michael
The Department of Home Affairs has reversed an earlier decision to ban the six-year-old Noa Schapiro from re-entering South Africa for five years, splitting her Cape Town family between South Africa and Israel.
by MICHAEL BELLING | Feb 10, 2016

PHOTOGRAPH SUPPLIED

As a result of the rescinded decision, Noa and her mother, Jessica, were scheduled to return to South Africa from Israel this week to join businessman Yaron Shapiro, a South African citizen and Jessica’s husband and Noa’s father, and their other two daughters, Sophie (13) and Maya (10). Schapiro has dual Israeli and South African citizenship.

The family went to live in Israel in 2006 to help care for Yaron’s mother, who was in failing health at the time.

Noa was born in Israel on January 28, 2010, but her birth was not registered with the South African embassy in Tel Aviv, as Schapiro thought she was automatically a citizen of South Africa by virtue of his citizenship.

The family returned to South Africa in 2015. Sophie and Maya hold dual South African and Israeli citizenship. Like them, Noa travelled using an Israeli passport and her parents believed the same applied to her.

On their return, Schapiro devoted himself to his business in Cape Town and he and Jessica found a new home for the family, renewed their driving licences and registered the two older children at school and Noa in a nursery school.

Schapiro said he had enquired about Noa’s status at the South African embassy in Israel and was told it could be sorted out in South Africa.

In December the family went to Mauritius on holiday but was told that Noa had overstayed her visa and would have to leave the country.

At that time Noa was declared “undesirable” and told she could not return to this country for five years. As a result, Jessica and Noa returned to Israel, while Yaron and the other two girls remained in South Africa.

At the time, the South African Department of Home Affairs applied a strict interpretation of a law on birth registration that took effect in 2014, providing that the birth of a South African child had to be registered within 30 days, even though in this case it meant splitting the family.

Late last week Yaron told the SA Jewish Report about the change in the position of the Department of Home Affairs and on Monday confirmed the scheduled arrival of his wife and daughter.

This means that the family will remain together while applying to regularise Noa’s South African status.

“We are excited and very happy,” Yaron said, “and just waiting.”

 

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