No valid Covid-19 test, no entry to SA, says home affairs minister Motsoaledi

Home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi says more staff are being deployed to SA's borders.
Home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi says more staff are being deployed to SA's borders.
Image: Trevor Samson

SA will not allow any traveller into the country without a valid Covid-19 test.

Home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi said this on Wednesday during a media briefing on immigration matters and border law enforcement under adjusted Covid-19 alert level 3. He outlined the government's intervention procedures as the country expected volumes of people to return to SA between January 2 and 14.

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

  • 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.

He said another 60 immigration law-enforcement officers will be deployed to support the SANDF at identified high-risk areas along the border where people tend to cross illegally into SA.

“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 department of health, via its Port Health unit, will also deploy additional officials to all ports of entry to ensure only travellers with valid Covid-19 tests are allowed into the country.

Those without will be tested at the border at their own cost.

“Only truck drivers are exempted from these test requirements, as was the case at the beginning of the lockdown. Any other traveller is warned once more that they will never be allowed in the country without producing authentic tests,” said Motsoaledi.

In addition to the Port Health officials who will be deployed, 278 community service personnel will be available to assist.

“The National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) will enlist private laboratories to provide additional support for testing. The South African Military Health Service has been requested to provide 73 additional military health personnel to help in the testing,” he said, adding that there will also be roadblocks, mainly in Limpopo, the Free State, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal.

Motsoaledi also 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 January 1.

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