By Liz Dlodlo
South Africa will from 1 October open its land borders and airports to international travel mainly for businesses and tourism, President Cyril Ramaphosa said Wednesday.
In his national address, he said the neighbouring country was gradually and cautiously easing restrictions on international travel.
He said one of the major land borders that remained open during the start of the lockdown in March and King Shaka, OR Tambo and Cape Town International Airports will be used by those qualifying to travel to Sadc’s economic powerhouse.
Ramaphosa said the latest move was part of South Africa’s gradually re-opening of the economy under Covid-19 alert level One (1).
“We will be allowing travel into and out of South Africa for business, leisure and other travel with effect from 1 October 2020,” he said.
The Head of State said Pretoria may have to restrict travel to and from certain countries that have high infection rates.
A list of selected countries, he said will be published based on the latest scientific data.
Further operational guidelines on the restricted countries and operational land borders will be announced soon.
South Africa shares, Beitbridge as the only land border with Zimbabwe and this port has remained open to commercial traffic since the start of the lockdown in March.
An estimated 8 million people travel between South Africa and Zimbabwe though Beitbridge every year.
According to Ramaphosa, travellers were expected to present a negative COVID-19 test result not older than 72 hours from time of departure.
“Where a traveller has not done a COVID-19 test prior to departure, they will be required to remain in mandatory quarantine at their own cost.
“All travellers will be screened on arrival and those presenting with symptoms will be required to remain in quarantine until a repeat COVID-19 test is conducted,” he said.
He added that all travellers will be asked to install the Covid-19 Alert South Africa mobile app and that countries that have used this type of app had managed the coronavirus pandemic effectively.
“In preparation for the re-opening of our borders, South African missions abroad will open for visa applications and all long-term visas will be reinstated.
The tourism sector is one of our greatest economic drivers. We are ready to open our doors again to the world, and invite travellers to enjoy our mountains, our beaches, our vibrant cities and our wildlife game parks in safety and confidence,” said Ramaphosa.