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Reopening of Land Borders Under the Spotlight

February 16, 2021

Department of Home Affairs

The home affairs minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, has declared that anyone that tries to enter South Africa with fake Covid-19 certificates will be denied entry and barred from visiting South Africa for a period of at least five years.

The home affairs department announced this in a statement on approval of the reopening of land borders.

The 20 land borders that were partially operational became fully operational on the weekend.

The land ports of entry were closed on 11 January 2021 as part of the country’s efforts to control the spread of Covid-19.

The minister appealed to travellers to ensure that they have all the “requisite travel documents, including valid Covid-19 tests, when they present themselves to officials at our borders. Truck drivers should adhere to laws, regulations and agreements in place in the border area. This will go a long way in minimising congestion”.

The department recently briefed parliament on the readiness of ports of entry for reopening.

It pointed out that the high level of congestion experienced at Beitbridge, Lebombo and Maseru ports during the festive season was due to the testing of all travellers at South Africa ports through port health which had capacity challenges; travellers demanding antigen tests at ports due to the low cost as compared to the cost of testing in their own countries and stringent lockdown measures imposed in Botswana (specifically at Groblersbridge Port of Entry) made truck drivers divert to Beit Bridge.

The department also informed the portfolio committee on home affairs that the shortage of health staff is the main reason why congestion occurred at health service delivery points while immigration work counters were empty.