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CaseLaw, Attorney
Category: South Africa Law
Satisfied Customers: 1569
Experience:  BCom; LLB; Masters in Law
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Is there any way to check if your name has been added to

Customer Question

Hi.. Is there any way to check if your name has been added to criminal record for first time shoplifting in SA.
I was caught shoplifting as a tourist in the country on Monday in cape town for R 3000 value of goods, confessed to police as I had to travel in 2 days and wanted to get it over with before leaving and spent 2 nights in jail waiting for the detective to charge me / file a case and then was sent to court where i did not even face the hearing as the prosecutor made me pay a fine of R4000 and asked me sign some documents to let me go (in order to catch my flight). The document said that this will come in criminal record and that I plead guilty.They further said that I may have problems traveling in the future which i do not understand why :/I still have to catch my flight which is tomorrow - will there be any issues? Or will i face any problems while applying for tourist visas for other countries for vacationing?Also, what are the chances that my employer in my home country or anyone else may find out? Is a criminal record in SA publicly available internationally also?Please reply at the earliest.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: South Africa Law
Expert:  CaseLaw replied 1 year ago.

Hi there and thank you for your question,

I will try to assist you with your legal question but please feel free to ask as many follow up questions as you like until you are 100% satisfied.

Your criminal record conviction will be forwarded to the head office of the SA police. If you request a police clearance certificate from them, then your conviction will come to light.

You shouldn't have any problems travelling tomorrow at all. Absolutely nothing to worry about.

You also shouldn't have any problems travelling in the future, as I don't think that SA police records for shoplifting are forwarded to Interpol. Also, only outstanding arrests are forwarded, so that they can catch people. They're not looking for already convicted persons.

You won't have any issues in applying for visas for other countries, but you might have an issue with applying in the future for a SA visa to come visit SA again. That might very well be a problem.

There is no way that your employer will find out about your conviction. The SA police records are not available online, and you can only apply for your own record - not for somebody else's record.

Q: Is a criminal record in SA publicly available internationally also? --> No.

The only way that your record will come out is if your employer sends you to SA on business and your visa is denied as a result of your record. Then your employer will ask why?

If my answer hasn't answered all of your questions, please send me a REPLY with follow up questions so that I can continue to assist you in this same thread for as long as you need. Let me know if you need more advice - don't just rate my answer as "bad".

If my are HAPPY with my answer then please click one of the STAR ratings or the SMILEY FACES to rate my answer!

Good luck and best regards,


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your response. Do you think they overcharged us? (My friend was with me today at the Magistrate Court and kept pleading them to wrap it up quickly as we had to catch a flight in few hours this morning).
And then they bought me a doc that said that i don't have to appear and just pay a fine and that it will be in my criminal record.For some reason they kept saying you'll have problem traveling and the Magistrate even said to my friend that he will send the paid fine challan to my country embassy so that there are no problems. I don't exactly understand that bit.And also think I have been charged way too much for minor R2000-3000 value shoplifting. Or this that really that much of a big deal in SA law??
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Fine R4000
Expert:  CaseLaw replied 1 year ago.

They were basically saying that you would have a problem travelling because of the visa thing. I really don't know what the magistrate was going on about, but that's definitely not how the system works.

The admission of guilt fine will be sent to the police headquarters (records office) in Pretoria, where it will be captured into the police database. The police don't then send out notifications to the person's "home country", or to the person's embassy. Anyone who tells you that is just wrong.

The fine of R4000 could have been reduced to R2000 or less, but they are taking shoplifting seriously nowadays, and I suppose if you are a poor person who can't afford a large fine they will reduce it, but if you are a foreigner who can afford to pay, then they'll increase the fine. It seems reasonable to me in the circumstances - sorry.