Two British nationals fined for illegally entering SA during lockdown
Two British nationals were fined R50,000 each for illegally entering SA during the lockdown.
On Friday James Hackett and Erkan Bali pleaded guilty to defeating or obstructing the administration of justice and contravening the Immigration Act when they illegally entered SA on April 11, disregarding all Covid-19 regulations and directions in terms of the management of foreign nationals entering the country.
“Both men arrived in SA in February 2020 on different dates and departed together to Swaziland on March 18. Then on April 11 during the nationwide lockdown), they went to the Golela port of entry in an attempt to re-enter SA. They were denied entry and asked to leave.
The men left the border and returned shortly afterwards, entering the country by driving straight through the port and ignoring the border officials present. They drove to a guest house in the Glenwood area where they were later arrested,” National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesperson Natasha Kara said.
Acting regional court prosecutor Ronitha Singh told the Durban regional court on Friday that the offences were serious as the men entered SA during a state of disaster.
“Their actions caused a cross-provincial search for them, resulting in expenditure of human and financial resources of the government and private sector. In addition, they showed a blatant disregard for the safety and bodily integrity of SA citizens, when they failed to notify a medical practitioner so that the relevant Covid-19 procedures could be implemented.”
For defeating or obstruction of justice, the men were sentenced to a fine of R40,000 or 12 months’ imprisonment, suspended for five years on condition that they are not convicted of the same offence during the period of suspension.
The men were sentenced to a fine of R10,000 or three months’ imprisonment for contravention of the Immigration Act. This sentence is suspended for five years on condition that they are not convicted of the same offence during the period of suspension.
“As a form of good faith to the people of SA, Hackett and Bail have each paid an amount of R15,000 to the Solidarity Fund in an attempt to contribute to government’s response to the Covid-19 crisis. They also undertook to pay the expenses related to their detention, maintenance, custody and deportation — so they alleviate any further burden on the state,” Kara said. She said the men were handed over to immigration authorities pending deportation.
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