The Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, convened an inclusive meeting involving senior immigration officials and ports of entry managers to address the challenges arising from the implementation of Regulations pertaining to travel into the Republic, including opening the tourism industry and promoting trade in order to stimulate economic recovery.
The Minister of Tourism, Ms Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, was consulted prior and during the meeting and fully endorses its outcome.
The visa free status of citizens of some countries and territories was temporarily suspended at the start of the lockdown period. In line with the commitment of Government to take urgent steps to address the economic and tourism stagnation brought about by the outbreak of Covid-19, the visa free status of citizens from the following countries and territories has been reinstated:
- South Korea;
- Hong Kong;
- Portugal; and
However, the visa free status does not alter the current Covid-19 Regulations.
The Minister has instructed officials to communicate this decision to the aviation industry, embassies and other stakeholders as a matter of urgency.
The port managers have been instructed to adhere to the SADC protocol and guidelines regulating the movement of essential goods under Covid-19 Regulations. The guidelines regulating truck drivers travelling across the border will continue to apply as has been the case for the past seven months.
In view of the confusion regarding the 72 hours negative test requirement, The Department reiterated that business persons providing services across the borders of SADC are allowed multiple entry subject to the following:
- Producing a certificate of negative Covid-19 test result not older than 72 hours from the time of departure. This certificate is valid for 14 days.
Minister Motsoaledi is fully aware of the issue of airline and maritime crews and he has been informed that the Minister of Transport is resolving the matter and a statement to that effect will hopefully be issued by the Minister of Transport today.
Immigration officers will be required to assess the movement and place of origin of the traveller and not the country of origin of the airline concerned.
Transit travellers through South Africa by air will be allowed to connect to their destinations, subject to them complying with applicable health protocols but need not produce the 72 hours negative certificate.