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COVID-19 certificate valid for 14 days

SA Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motswaledi

Oct. 5, 2020 3 min read

3 min read

LADYBRAND – Businessmen providing services across SADC borders will be allowed multiple entry into South Africa over a two-week period on production of a negative COVID-19 test result, home affairs minister Dr Aaron Motswaledi has announced.

In a statement released after a meeting involving senior immigration officials and port management to address the challenges arising from the implementation of Regulations pertaining to travel into South Africa, Motswaledi said the negative COVID-19 Certificate is valid for 14 days.

“In view of the confusion regarding the 72 hours negative test requirement, we reiterate 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 72 hours,” said the statement.

The statement was issued partly in response to a Metro inquiry into concerns raised by Ladybrand businessmen and residents who work across the border in Lesotho.

The Metro had asked Motswaledi to clarify requirements for South Africans who cross the border to Maseru daily but were not able to do so during the six-month hard lockdown.

The paper had also wanted to know whether frequent travellers including businessmen and cross border workers would be required to test every 72 hours.

Last week, Maseru lawyer Advocate Nthabiseng Motjolopane blasted government for closing the border with Lesotho during the six-month lockdown, saying the closure had been ill-advised adversely affected the local economy.

Motjolopane said the measure which took effect on March 27 was more lethal than the dreaded Coronavirus as it had left thousands of people jobless and the local economy teetering on the brink.

“The World Health Organisation (WHO) has already said to them the outcomes of Coronavirus in Africa are completely different from Europe, Americas and everywhere else. They do not find that one out. Our immune systems have been dealing with worse and we have survived but what they are doing is to kill you mentally, physically and emotionally. They subdue you. That’s exactly what they are doing   

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“They are closing the border for people who are economically active with businesses that actually support their economy this side (Ladybrand). That is illogical.

“They are now at level 1. We have been abiding by this for a complete six months. They are moving to Level Zero. God knows when. If they are moving to that level, what is precluding them from continuing with screening because when I cross the border, it’s 15 minutes to my office and 15 minutes back to my home,” she said.

Business owners and cross-border workers pay R850 for the COVID-19 test, a fee deemed too excessive by most locals.

As a result, official borders have been quiet despite the lifting of the travel ban while illegal crossing points have become hives of activity.

Youths charge between R200 and R300 to help travellers cross the porous border between the two countries.

Travellers arriving in South Africa need to present a negative COVID-19 test result not older than 72 hours from the time of departure.

Motjolopane who practices law in Maseru but lives in Ladybrand said strict border crossing requirements would not offer any immediate relief to frequent travellers, mainly business owners and workers.

On the movement of goods, Motswaledi said: “The port managers have been instructed to adhere to the SADC protocol and guidelines regulating the movement of essential goods under the 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.”    

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