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Frustration over Robben Island refund

Nurene Jassiem-Marcus

A GROUP of British tourists is upset at being wrapped up in red tape in requesting a refund for a cancelled trip to the Robben Island Museum.

Thomas Murray, a city tour operator, said a ferry trip to the island was cancelled because of bad weather last Wednesday, but when the tourists requested a refund they were told they had to provide a stamped bank statement as they had paid in cash and not with a credit or debit card.

“What kind of scam is being operated here?

“No tourist walks around with a bank statement. They (staff) are giving the place a bad name,” Murray told the Cape Times yesterday.

Robben Island chief executive Sibongiseni Mkhize said it was not their aim to keep money which should be refunded to its rightful owners.

“We give the person concerned time to make arrangements with his or her own bank inside or outside the country.

“Once the proof of payment is sent, we then issue a refund.

“By doing so we want to ensure that there are sufficient financial controls and a paper trail in respect of all transactions.

“If the money remains unclaimed it becomes part of the museum’s budget and is accounted for in accordance with the Public Finance Management Act,” he said.

When asked why clients who pay in cash are forced to receive their refunds by bank transfer, Mkhize said this is part of the museum’s terms and conditions “which are prominently displayed at its ticket sales offices”.

“For security reasons, RIM does not carry large cash amounts for refund purposes. Due to abuse that was identified with cash refunds and the possibility of suspected collusion between some customers and officials we ask that tourists complete a refund form. We then insist on a bank-stamped proof of banking details. We would like to trace all refunds to customers,” he said.

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