More Travels with Children. Beta Testing by South Africa?

More Travels with Children. Beta Testing by South Africa?

Why does nothing new ever seem to work? Whenever a new Computer or software update is announced in any Business, I suspect that everyone working there fears the worst. And yes, of course, mostly they are correct. It’s all going to go wrong – now the printers won’t work like they used to and someone is near to tears because all of their work from last week seems to have been lost.

In so many cases, the purchasers of new systems and upgrades find that they are actually the “Beta Testers” of it, doing the quality control work that the developers themselves should have done.

Of course, Beta testing is difficult and expensive. How many ways are there to make a mistake in using a machine, for every single way to get it right?

Often software designers can’t even put themselves into the mental mindset of us poor computer illiterates – they are not called geeks for nothing, they would never even think of trying to do things the way the rest of us dullards do.

When I first got computer mice into my office in the 1980s or early 90s, some people picked them up and pointed them at the screens. Like ray guns.

Each Android update seems to generate complaints and tweets that “My tablet has been bricked”

Apple have just updated the iTunes software to version 12.2. In consequence, the internet is full with the complaints of iTunes Match and iCloud Music library users who say that the latest version of the iTunes program has more or less scrambled their entire music collections, mismatching the artwork and giving the wrong names to the tracks.

No doubt that will get sorted out, Apple are pretty clever.

But every time there is something new there are these problems it seems. The Beta Testing problem for the designers is always, – how will these changes actually work when we take them out of the lab and into the real world?

But if the biggest and richest company in the world can’t release even a new version of existing software without storms of problems and complaints, the question is, what are the chances of a bunch of Civil Servants and Ministers managing to formulate new legislation and get it right first time?

[Answer – Slim, really slim.]

I am referring particularly to the new rules from South Africa, about travelling with children.

In order to help to eliminate child kidnap, as I have blogged earlier, link here, the new rule is that any child not travelling into SA with BOTH parents, will need their accompanying adults to carry a signed and Notarised Affidavit of the absent parent/s, giving consent to the journey. A Consent over three months old is considered to have expired.

Seems reasonable if you say it quickly.

BUT, what about the case of the client of a colleague of mine, who lives in England and has an ex-partner (they were never married) by whom he had two sons (aged 12 and 10). The ex-partner and 2 sons all live in Mozambique near the South African border and have Mozambique passports. The relationship ended amicably and the English resident client is happy for his sons to live with their mother. No custody orders.

Previously to the new rules, the boys’ mother has regularly taken one or both boys in and out of South Africa for social, family and other reasons. Shopping trips. Several times a year.

Now, it seems that they will need the biological father’s consent to do this and each consent can only last for three months and will need to be certified with the relevant details and supporting documents and sent over to Mozambique each time.

Inconvenient and expensive. And unnecessary, wouldn’t you think?

The Regulations don’t include any exceptions for frequent visitors like this.

Is it really the intention of the South African Government to make work for Notaries, by requiring this Father to make a new affidavit of consent to travel, annexing all the notarised Birth Certificates and certified copy passports etc, every three months for the next eight years [thirty two sets of fees to pay] just so that the mother and boys can continue to make their regular shopping trips over the order from twenty miles away in Mozambique?

They haven’t thought it through. Quelle surprise, as we say in Leeds.

If you have any queries about travel abroad with or without children, please contact me. And of course, if your concerns relate to more general foreign law or documents, we are here to help – or phone me or Louise +44 (0) 1138160116