Airlines fined millions of rands for bringing illegal foreigners to South Africa

The Department of Home Affairs has issued over R25 million in fines to airlines for bringing illegal foreigners to South Africa.

In a recent parliamentary Q&A session, the department said that conveyance fines are issued to airlines where such contraventions occur.

While the department did not provide information on how many foreigners travelled to the country, its fine data shows that Emirates is the biggest offender  – receiving R6,960,000 in fines during 2017/18 and R2,670,000 in fines during 2016/17.

The next biggest offenders were South African Airways (R4.4 million in fines in 2017/18) and Ethiopian Airlines (R4.1 million in fines in 2017/18).

“Further detail in respect of the fines cannot be provided due to current challenges with the revenue management reconciliation mechanism,” the department said.

“The department is engaging the National Treasury with a view to implement improved measures, systems and revenue management (reconciliation) mechanism.”

It added that no arrangements have been made with regards to ‘arrears’ as fines are not regarded as debt.

Below, the department provided a breakdown of the fines ordered from highest to lowest:

Conveyor Value of fines issued for 2017/2018 Value of fines issued for 2016/2017
Emirates R6 960 000 R2 670 000
SAA R4 440 000 R2 160 000
Ethiopian Airlines R4 095 000 R1 665 000
Kenya Airlines R2 340 000 R390 000
British Airways R1 350 000 R975 000
Qatar Airlines R1 350 000 R435 000
Rwanda Airlines R1 215 000 R225 000
Etihad R825 000 R285 000

South Africa is not the only country which fines for airlines illegally bringing foreigners to the country, and the issue has recently made headlines in New Zealand and the UK .

In 2015, the Swiss government said that it would also be instituting fines of between CHF 4,000 – CHF 16,000 per passenger.

These fines are typically given out to ‘inattentive’ airlines who did not properly follow procedure when checking passengers for valid documents.

Read: South African Airways is getting new planes – including extra legroom and lie-flat beds

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Airlines fined millions of rands for bringing illegal foreigners to South Africa