A Zimbabwe-based bus company, Rimbi Travel and Tours Bus Service, has been fined more than R400 000 by South Africa for breaking the Southern African country’s immigration laws.
This comes after one of the company’s buses arrived at the Beitbridge border post with passengers who did not have passports, thereby breaking the Immigration Act.
Rimbi has been given until the end of business on Tuesday to pay an R420 000 fine or the Department of Home Affairs will recover the money through legal means.
In a statement, Department of Home Affairs spokesperson Siya Qoza said on 29 March 2021, a driver of a Rimbi Travel and Tours bus arrived at the border post with 28 passengers who did not have passports.
Rimbi was subsequently fined R420,000 for transporting passengers without appropriate travel documents but the bus operator appealed the decision.
However, the appeal was rejected and the order to pay the fine was upheld. The fine is payable within 30 days of issue. Said Qoza in a statement:
The minister of home affairs determined in a Government Gazette of 03 June 2014 that any conveyor [transport business] that contravenes the provisions of section 35(9), will be liable for a fine of R15,000 for each person who arrives at a port of entry without appropriate travel documents.
Section 35(9) of the Immigration Act places on the person in charge of a transport business the responsibility of ensuring that all foreign passengers travelling through a port of entry have valid passports and relevant valid visas for their travel.
According to Qoza, transport companies that want to enter the country with passengers who do not have valid passports and visas, where required, are fined, denied entry and ordered to return such passengers to the sending country.