Motsoaledi: This is why COVID-positive people are turned away at our borders

Travellers from Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe are tested on arrival if they don’t have valid COVID-19 certificates – and those with fraudulent certificates are also turned away.

FILE: Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. Picture: Xanderleigh Dookey/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said the country wasn’t turning away COVID positive travellers from neighbouring countries because of hate, but because it’s unable to cope.

Travellers from Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe are tested on arrival if they don’t have valid COVID-19 certificates – and those with fraudulent certificates are also turned away.

Thousands are spending days in these queues due to limited level 3 Home Affairs working hours - some without food and water.

READ: No food, no water & unable to enter SA, travellers turn back at Lebombo border

“We’ve decided to come back because it was really difficult with no food and no water, just sitting in the bus. It was just too much. Even the toilet facilities on the bus, we couldn’t use it anymore because we’ve been using it since Sunday so the hygiene was just not good anymore on the bus.”

Karyn Nxumalo got on a bus from Mozambique to South Africa on Sunday – but it stopped in a long queue at the Lebombo border and finally returned to Maputo on Tuesday.

“Those who came with no COVID-19 certificates were given a rapid antigen test at the border and when it was found to be positive, of course they were turned back,” said Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi.

“This was not because we hate human beings from these nations, but because our hospitals are already full and we are already unable to cope. So, we cannot be able to take some more and more people.”

Among those turned back were travellers who were caught with fraudulent certificates.

READ: Motsoaledi: Over 50 foreign nationals tried to enter SA with fake COVID results

Security remains tight in notoriously porous areas until 14 January and Motsoaledi said beyond that, the new border management authority would have to make plans to control movement and illegal crossings.

WATCH: Security to be beefed up at SA’s borders

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