Home affairs shuts its door on US missionaries

2015-03-19 10:52
Missionaries Dave and Marj Patrick. (The Witness)

Missionaries Dave and Marj Patrick. (The Witness)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Chelsea Pieterse, The Witness

Pietermaritzburg - After 20 years serving the community as missionaries in South Africa, Marj and Dave Patrick have been told by the department of home affairs to pack up and go back home.

The American couple arrived in South Africa on a voluntary missionary visa to help, educate and equip poverty-stricken people with new skills to eventually take over the positions the missionaries initially filled.

Without pay, the couple worked with South Africans in the newly established democracy and were even commended for their hard work by former president Nelson Mandela a few years after they started their missionary work in the country.

Refused

Marj said three years ago when she and her husband attempted to renew their voluntary missionary visas with the department of home affairs, their renewal was refused and they were told those visas were no longer part of the system.

“We came here to work together, embrace culture and empower people. Our organisation, the Evangelical Alliance Mission, has been working in South Africa for over 100 years and we have made a difference.

“What would cause a nation to say they don’t want help?”

Marj said the only way they would be able to keep working in the country would be to apply for a visitor’s visa or a project visa as well as a work permit, which missionaries could just not afford.

“We are here to empower people, help people get an education and then take over our work once they are qualified and they will be paid where we weren’t. If you take us away, South Africans will be at the complete mercy of the government.”

Empowered

She said she and her husband leave for America next week and although there was still work to be done across the country, she felt they could leave their station at Pietermaritzburg’s Union Bible Institute knowing they had fully equipped and trained locals to take over, empower themselves and start earning a living.

“We haven’t been told why the department of home affairs weren’t renewing voluntary missionary visas, but they did tell us that eight other missionaries had been sent back to their home countries.”

The department of home affairs was contacted for comment but did not respond.

Read more on:    department of home affairs  |  pietermaritzburg

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
223 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
PARTNER CONTENT
INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.

PARTNER CONTENT
WATCH: How education can change a life

A university education gives students the chance to create a better future for themselves, their families and to opportunity achieve their dreams.

/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.