The department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries (DAFF) and the department of water and sanitation have both issued advisories to travellers ahead of the Easter weekend.
DAFF has called all international travellers who will be visiting or returning to South Africa during the Easter holidays to comply with the country’s import requirements for agricultural and related regulated products.
“Compliance will assist our country in preventing and minimising the potential risk of introducing alien invasive species, foreign pests and diseases that could be associated with imported plants, plant products, animals, animal products and other regulated goods,” the department said in a statement.
Media alert on the Importation of agricultural regulated products into SA during the Easter Holidays pic.twitter.com/savuZdMG11
— Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries ZA (@DAFF_ZA) April 17, 2019
This is in accordance with the country’s relevant legislation, which is aimed at preventing the introduction, establishment and spread of pests and diseases from other parts of the world through the regulation of the importation of animals, animal products, liquor products, plants and plant products, honey and honey products, as well as any other potentially harmful materials into South Africa from other countries into its territory.
“Once a quarantine pest or disease is introduced into the country, we find it difficult and expensive to control and manage, thus prevention is imperative. Furthermore, the importation of certain liquor products with an alcohol content of more than 1% into the country for drinking purposes is restricted, except on the authority of an import certificate issued by DAFF,” explained the department.
DAFF reiterated that all the imported consignments of regulated products must be presented to the DAFF inspectors at the port of entry for compliance inspections, as per import conditions.
Travellers are advised to contact the department’s offices for detailed information regarding the product to be imported.
For animals and animal products, they can call 012 319 7476/7500/6313, fax 012 319 8292 or e-mail VetPermits@daff.gov.za.
For plants and plant products, they can contact 012 319 6102/6130/6207/6313, fax 012 319 6370 or e-mail PlantHealthPermits@daff.gov.za.
For liquor products, travellers can call 011 971 5138 or 012 319 6137 or e-mail NjokoS@daff.gov.za.
The department of water, on the other hand, would like holidaymakers to be cautious and stick to water safety measures to avoid any possible drowning incidents that may occur during the Easter weekend.
“During this period, tens of thousands of people are expected to visit coastal areas to enjoy themselves at the country’s beaches, while people of different faiths are expected to be engaged in various religious activities such as baptism. Subsequently, these religious activities often lead to loss of lives of many due to drownings, while also facing the danger of reptiles living in water,” explained the department in a statement.
According to the government news agency, the drowning mortality rate for the African region is considerably higher at 13.1 per 100 000 population and in 2012, was found to account for 20% of drowning globally. As such, the department advises parents to keep children in check to avoid drownings.
“Adults are also warned not to consume alcoholic substances near dams, as they are likely to end up drowning,” added the department.