South Africans allowed to return to countries they are based in

Aaron Motsoaledi during a press briefing at GCIS in Pretoria, 21 June 2018, outlining the details of the National Health Insurance Bill and the Medical Schemes Amendment Bill. Picture: Jacques Nelles

South Africans who wish to leave the country are permitted to depart only for work, study, family reunion, take up permanent residency and receive medical attention.

Minister of Home Affairs Dr Aaron Motsoaledi has approved essential travel for South Africans, who want to return to countries where they are based.

Motsoaledi made the decision following consultations with the department of international relations and cooperation (Dirco) and the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC).

He said South Africans who wished to leave the country were permitted to depart only for work, study, family reunion, take up permanent residency and receive medical attention.

South Africa, like many countries in the world, has implemented travel restrictions as part of the measures put in place to fight the spread of Covid-19.

Travel between countries is allowed in special circumstances.

The minister said people wishing to return to countries where they reside should have a copy of their passport and a letter confirming their admissibility under the current circumstances from the embassy or other diplomatic representative of the country they want to travel to.

“If returning by road or connecting via flights, the proof submitted needs to include permission from each transiting country. They also should have a proof of means of travel such as air or bus tickets and the intended date of departure,” he said in a statement.

Motsoaledi said South Africans who fell in these categories and satisfied the criteria, could send an email to Covid19travel@dha.gov.za.

“An email will be sent to travellers who meet the criteria to enable them to proceed with their travel arrangements. People applying as a group can send one email with the supporting documents for each member of the group,” he said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Sunday a drop to Level 3, bringing a significant easing of measures to combat the deadly pandemic.

However, with the easing of restrictions, came a warning from the president: “…the risk of a massive increase in infections is now greater than it has been since the start of the outbreak in our country.”

Ramaphosa’s announcement confirmed that most South Africans would be heading back to work, to restart the already ailing economy.

South Africa has been in lockdown since 27 March to give health facilities time to prepare for the inevitable growth of infections that has gradually begun in recent weeks.

READ NEXT: FULL SPEECH: Ramaphosa outlines how life in Level 3 lockdown will look.

(Compild by Molefe Seeletsa)

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