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Minister Outlines Plans For SA's Border

The ports of entry have been prepared for the high volume of travellers expected to return back to South Africa in January 2021. 

The South African government has outlined its plans for operations at the country's ports of entry for the period 2 January to 14 January, as high volumes of travellers are expected during this time. This was approved by the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJoints).

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says that South Africa will not allow any traveller into the country without a valid COVID-19 test. 

Motsoaledi says the department will deploy an additional 160 officials at the six busiest land ports to process returning travellers until 14 January.

These include the following:

  • Beitbridge border post with Zimbabwe;
  • Lebombo with Mozambique;
  • Oshoek with the kingdom of Eswatini;
  • Maseru Bridge with Lesotho;
  • Ficksburg with Lesotho; and
  • Kopfontein with Botswana.

Motsoaledi said this on Wednesday when briefing the media on immigration matters and border law enforcement under the adjusted COVID–19 alert level 3. 

"The immigration officers and the soldiers are not there to stop people from coming into South Africa. They are there to insist that anybody wishing to visit South Africa must use the official gates of entry and produce all the requisite documentation otherwise, they won’t be allowed in," Motsoaledi said. 

The Minister said that the Department of Health, via its Port Health unit, will also be deploying an additional 259 Port Health officials to all the ports of entry to verify that only travellers with valid Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests are allowed into the country.

He says those without a PCR test may be subjected to a rapid anti-gen test at the port of entry which they will have to pay for. 

"South Africa will not allow any traveller into the country without a valid PCR test or the anti-gen test for COVID-19,” said the Minister. 

Only truck drivers are exempted from the test requirements, as this was the case at the start of the lockdown. 

In addition to the Port Health officials, 278 community service personnel on contract will be deployed. 

“The National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS) will enlist private laboratories to provide additional support for testing. South African Military Health Services has been requested to provide 73 additional military health personnel to help in the testing,” the Minister said.

In terms of the border law enforcement area, Motsoaledi said the Provincial Joints (PROVJOINTS) have been activated for policing and will conduct roadblocks and vehicle control points. 

Roadblocks will also be conducted by provincial authorities, mainly in Limpopo, Free State, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal.

The Minister announced that the Kosi Bay border post between KZN and Mozambique, which has been closed since the beginning of lockdown in March, will be open from 1 January 2021.

“The Cross Border Road Transport Agency will also deploy inspectors at Beitbridge, Lebombo, Maseru Bridge and Ficksburg for the same duration. That means from the 2 to 14 January 2021,” the Minister said. 


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