In a bid to boost tourism to the country, South Africa’s home affairs minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi has announced visa-free travel for 11 countries. In a media briefing, the minister said the visa-free status of citizens of some countries and territories was temporarily suspended at the start of the lockdown period.
“In line with the commitment of government to take urgent steps to address the economic and tourism stagnation brought about by the outbreak of Covid-19, visa-free status of citizens from a number of countries and territories has been reinstated,” Motsoaledi said.
The countries include South Korea, Spain, Italy, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore, US, UK, France, Portugal and Iran. However, the minister said that visa-free status does not alter the current Covid-19 regulations.
The minister also said he has instructed officials to communicate this decision to the aviation industry, embassies and other stakeholders as a matter of urgency. “The port managers have been instructed to adhere to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) protocol and guidelines regulating the movement of essential goods under Covid-19 regulations. “The guidelines regulating truck drivers travelling across the border will continue to apply as has been the case for the past seven months,” he said.
The minister said that immigration officers will be required to assess the movement and place of origin of the traveller and not the country of origin of the airline concerned.
“Transit travellers through South Africa by air will be allowed to connect to their destinations, subject to them complying with applicable health protocols but need not produce the 72 hours negative certificate.”
Motsoaledi said that any person from a country listed as having a high Covid-19 infection and transmission rate, who wish to undertake business travel into South Africa, may, in writing, apply to the Department of Home Affairs and demonstrate reasons for their request to enter the country for business purposes during the period of the national state of disaster.