Motsoaledi: Travellers need permission to pass through SA borders

But while the border between Mozambique and South Africa may be closed migrants are still making their way into the country illegally.

The Lebombo border post between South Africa and Mozambique on 12 January 2021. It remains closed for arrivals following the announcement of new regulations by President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Boikhutso Ntsoko/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi on Monday said anyone who needed to leave the country through land boarders will need permission to do so.

It was President Cyril Ramaphosa who first announced the closure of all 20 borders on Monday night with exceptions

Motsoaledi said: “Which will include cargo, emergency medical treatment within the country and learners from neighbouring countries who attend school in our country but sleep in their respective countries.”

He said each case would be decided on merit: “People who are allowed to enter are still subjected to the normal COVID-19 protocols like the 72-hour test certificate, isolation and quarantine.”

But while the border between Mozambique and South Africa may be closed migrants are still making their way into the country illegally.

Home Affairs Deputy Minister Njabulo Nzuza is visiting the Lebombo border on Tuesday.

In Mbuzini in Mpumalanga, soldiers have been arresting hundreds of people before placing them in trucks and deporting them back to Mozambique.

Scores of South Africans and documented permanent and temporary residents who are allowed to enter the country waited for the Lebombo Border to open from 6 am on Tuesday.

But as Nzuza was inspecting operations, undocumented migrants were crossing elsewhere.

“We had a situation where we said we are not going to require visas for SADC countries with the exception of TRC, but what we are seeing is illegal migration of people who don’t have documents for whatever reason.”

Nzuza insists that opening the borders is not a solution as it will promote illicit trade.

He said more infrastructure would be built to reinforce the border, but it’s not clear how.

“We are talking about technology, there are quite a number of options.”

Nzuza also heard that one of challenges with the one stop border post is that it’s not clear which jurisdiction should deal with crimes like robberies of travellers and theft of equipment on the so called “no man’s land”.

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