Bristol

Petition to stop grandmother South Africa deportation hits 100k

Irene Nel and Desree Taylor
Image caption Irene Nel (left) was taken ill during a trip to see her daughter Desree Taylor in 2012

More than 100,000 people have signed a petition urging the Home Office not to deport a woman with kidney failure from the UK back to South Africa.

Irene Nel, 73, was visiting family in Bristol on a six-month tourist visa in 2012 when she was diagnosed.

Her daughter, who moved to the UK in 1999, has been fighting her deportation claiming she will die if sent back.

The Home Office said all applications were considered on individual merit in line with immigration rules.

Mrs Nel is currently being cared for by her daughter Desree Taylor, who is a British citizen.

She said her mother needs to have dialysis three times a week "to keep her alive", but a process was being put in place to deport her with just 72 hours' notice.

Image caption More then 100,000 supporters have signed a petition for the government to "put aside immigration law and use compassion for a dying mother"

"She won't have dialysis in South Africa because over there - if you're over 60 - you don't qualify at all," she said.

"So she will go back and within two weeks, her consultant has said, she will pass away."

Mrs Nel has said she would "rather die than go back" and has appealed for six weeks' notice so she can stop dialysis.

"I love my country but I can't go back," she said.

"I've got no one there, all my kids are here and if I have to go back I might as well give up everything."

A Home Office spokesman said: "All cases are carefully considered on their individual merits, in line with the UK immigration rules."

The case echoes that of 92-year-old South African Myrtle Cothill who had her threat of deportation lifted after more than 150,000 people signed a petition for her to stay in Dorset with her daughter.

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