A South African woman was on Monday ordered to pay a fine of N$8 000 or alternatively face 12 months in prison for overstaying her welcome in Namibia.
Jeanette Jacobs, 55, was arrested on November 4 by immigration officials for staying in Namibia for 10 months and 14 days after her visitor’s permit had expired.
Jacobs entered Namibia on September 25, 2014 on a Transit Permit and was supposed to leave on December 24, 2014.
She pleaded guilty to contravening Namibia’s Immigration laws in the Windhoek Magistrate Court. Magistrate Jermaine Muchali presided over the matter and told Jacobs that the legislature deemed the offence as a serious one, hence the penalty clause that provided for a fine not exceeding N$12 000, or three months in prison or both.
He said the courts need to send a clear message within and outside the borders of Namibia that this type of crime would not be tolerated.
“Any peregrine who intends to come to Namibia must come with the utmost good faith of following the required procedural laws,” he said.
While the offence is serious, Muchali said, a direct custodial sentence would be very harsh and shocking, considering that Jacobs entered Namibia through the proper channels, is at an advanced age, and would be deported upon the finalisation of the case.
He said the fact remains she must be punished and the punishment should fit the crime and satisfy the interests of society.
He further said in the interest of justice a fine would be imposed, but the fine must have a deterrent effect and the N$5 000 proposed by the State and her lawyer would not have that effect.