Wednesday, 4 August 2010

So near, yet so far...

So, our box of stuff is in Durban Harbour, awaiting customs clearance.

In July, we got a letter from the South African company used by the UK company that did our shipping – a month later than they were supposed to send it. It told us we have to fill in a bunch of forms and go to South African Customs and Excise ourselves to have the shipment cleared for customs before they could proceed. Then I got measles and we isolated ourselves. Then sort of one thing and another happened and we didn’t get round to it.

Yesterday Steve made the utterly unprecedented move of taking time away from work and went to Customs and Excise (since his is the name on all the forms). Once again not one of the shipping companies managed to be remotely compitent, i.e. inform us of all the facts – when he got to the front and presented our forms, he was met with much head shaking and uhming and ahing, since his visa is only until early next year.

Since he’s married to a South African, he will be able to apply for residency on our 5th anniversary – December this year. As a result his work only applied for a visa for as long as they needed to, which is understandable. However now the customs people don’t really know about someone wanting to bring their entire life over here when they technically can only stay for another few months (by the information available right now). We never thought of this, and not one of the companies that supposedly deal with this stuff every day thought to bring it up.

The customs officials took the forms and have apparently sent them off to head office with a promise to call Steve. Needless to say, we haven’t heard back yet.

The most frustrating thing about it all is that apparently the Customs & Excise staff asked Steve why he was doing it himself, why wasn’t his shipping company sorting it out for him?


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