Covid-19: British nationals fined R50 000 for illegally entering SA

Covid-19: British nationals fined R50 000 for illegally entering SA

- Two British nationals have been harshly punished after they were caught illegally entering SA during the Covid-19 lockdown

- The pair pleaded guilty for their transgression and were fined R50 000 each for their crime

- The incident prompted an interprovincial manhunt and the two men will be deported

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Two British nationals, James Hackett and Erkan Bali, have been slapped with R50 000 fines after illegally entering the country during the lockdown.

In a statement released by the National Prosecuting Authority, spokesperson Natasha Kara commented that:

“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."

READ ALSO: Lockdown: Cops seize R60 000 worth of booze from liquor store

With foreign nationals barred from entering SA during the lockdown, acting regional court prosecutor Ronitha Singh highlighted that the offence was serious, reports TimesLIVE:

“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.”

Pleading guilty to defeating or obstruction of justice, the two men were sentenced to a R40 000 fine or 12 months imprisonment, suspended for five years on the condition that they are not convicted of the same crime during this period.

For contravening the Immigration Act, the men were slapped with a R10 000 fine or three months in jail, also suspended for five years.

“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.".

The two men have now been handed over to authorities in preparation for their imminent deportation, gathered.

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