- After being closed for more than a month, SA’s twenty biggest land border posts will reopen on Monday.
- New rules have been implemented to prevent the “super-spreader” congestion at these posts.
- This includes a crackdown on fake Covid-19 certificates.
South Africa reopened 20 land borders on Monday. The border crossings between SA and Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Namibia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe were closed on January 11 in an attempt to control the spread of Covid-19.
A statement from the home affairs department said minister Aaron Motsoaledi, deputy minister Njabulo Nzuza and director-general Tommy Makhode will visit the four busiest border posts for the reopening on Monday.
Motsoaledi said the management of people through borders remained an important part of SA’s strategy to control the spread of Covid-19.
“In the past four weeks the department has increased its engagements with officials in neighbouring countries, provinces with land borders and other stakeholders to improve co-ordination of efforts,” he said.
— HomeAffairsSA (@HomeAffairsSA) February 13, 2021
For the past month, travel into and out of South Africa through these border posts were limited to only a number of reasons – including the transportation of fuel, cargo and goods as well as emergency medical treatment.
A host of new interventions are being implemented to prevent the chaos witnessed over the festive period, including that trucks will be limited to a 700-metre queue. As soon as the queues become longer than that, trucks will be diverted to rest stops.
More staff have also been deployed and a ticket system adopted to limit the number of Covid-19 tests that can be done at the border posts.
In addition, the reopening plan includes a crackdown on fake Covid-19 test certificates.
Any person presenting themselves at any of the borders with fake Covid-19 certificates will be denied entry and barred from visiting South Africa for a period of at least five years, said Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi in a statement on Saturday.
Travel regulations require all persons entering South Africa from abroad – whether via land or air – to present a negative Covid-19 test result, and a number of fake tests results have been seized at the borders.
Zimbabwe Doctors for Human Rights (ZDHR) have advised the government not to open land borders with SA when it reviews the current lockdown.
“The aim of these engagements was to share plans and ensure seamless movement of travellers and goods to minimise the chances of border crossings being super-spreader events.”
Motsoaledi said anyone arriving at a border with a faked Covid-19 test result would be turned back and barred from SA for at least five years.
“We appeal 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,” he said.
“Truck drivers should adhere to laws, regulations and agreements in place in the border area. This will go a long way in minimising congestion.”
Source: TimesLIVE / Business Insider SA via Club of Mozambique