Cape Town – An airport employee who tried to take advantage of a group of schoolgirls, claiming they needed to pay a fine for not having the correct travel documents according to South Africa’s new immigration regulations, has been fired.
Tourism Update reports the man was not a Home Affairs immigration official but a staff member of the aviation security company, Checkport and has since been fired.
Asata issued a statement on Monday 24 August, stating an OR Tambo official has been suspended after he allegedly tried to solicit a R500 fine from a group of schoolgirls, travelling on a student exchange through Johannesburg.
The man allegedly approached the group of schoolgirls saying they had the “incorrect documents to travel” and referred to South Africa’s newly instituted immigration legislation, which requires travelling minors to produce an unabridged birth certificate.
According to the Association of Southern African Travel Agents (ASATA), the “traumatised and distressed” group of schoolgirls were led to an interview room, were they were denied access to a female official and told to pay the R500 ‘fine’ or else they would not be allowed to leave South Africa.
ASATA said a rapid response from the travel agent involved led to the official being suspended.
The group were in fact in possession of the documents, previously vetted by the travel agent, which had also been accepted by the airline staff upon check-in of the group. The documents required include:
– his or her passport and/or visa
– the Unabridged Birth Certificate, or foreign equivalent
– proof of consent from both parents or legal guardian in the form of a letter or affidavit for the child to travel into or depart from South Africa.
– where only one parent provides proof of consent, that parent must also provide a copy of a court order issued to him or her in terms of which he or she has been granted full parental responsibilities and rights in respect of the child; or a death certificate of the other parent.
– A certified copy of ID or passport from both parents (These certified copies must not be older than six months).
– The contact numbers of the parents or legal guardian of the child.
– A letter from the person who is to receive her or him in South Africa containing that person’s residential address and contact details in South Africa where the child will be residing;
– A copy of the identity document or valid passport and visa or permanent residence permit of the person who is to receive the child;
The travel agent concerned, escalated the matter to ASATA, which in turn ensured it was dealt with speedily through the correct channels.
Airports Company South Africa has yet to respond to Traveller24 requests for comment on the matter.