Western Cape government pushes to change travel regulations

Posted on 13 October 2020

The Western Cape government is urging the national government to make amendments to current travel regulations under Level 1 lockdown. While the international borders have reopened, they are calling for it to be made easier for business travellers to enter the country or for the red-list of countries to be scrapped.

Under current regulations, business travellers from high-risk countries are allowed to enter South Africa, and require permission from the Department of Home Affairs. No leisure travellers from high-risk countries are permitted to enter South Africa.

Business travellers are struggling to enter the country. Picture: Pexels

According to the provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier, the department has received many complaints from business travellers and immigration attorneys who claim they have been unable to access the country as Home Affairs is not responding to them.

‘We have received complaints from business executives and immigration attorneys informing us that their emails to the Department of Home Affairs requesting permission to travel for business from high-risk countries to South Africa have not been answered since the reopening of international travel on the 01 October 2020,’ said Maynier in a statement.

Maynier has now written to the Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, to request his urgent intervention to ensure that the appropriate resource is allocated so that business travellers from high-risk countries who apply for permission to travel to South Africa receive a response within at least 24 hours.

‘An easier fix, as per my recent submission to the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nkosozana Dlamini-Zuma, would be to simply scrap the risk-based approach to international travel and the ‘red-list’ of countries not permitted to travel to South Africa,’ he said.

Instead, Manier proposes all travellers be required to produce proof of a negative Covid-19 test result not older than 72 hours from the time of departure, supplemented by vigorous screening on arrival and antigen testing at the airport should they fail to pass screening protocols.

‘At a time when economic recovery is critical and when there is clearly a high demand for business travellers to visit South Africa and stimulate the economy, it is unacceptable that we are putting measures in place that do not work and unnecessarily block investment,’ said Maynier.

‘Our proposed alternative to the risk-based approach for international travel would remove the unfair and unnecessary red tape currently in place to prevent business travellers from visiting South Africa, while also allowing leisure tourists to return unimpeded, bringing the investment we need to rebuild our economy following the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in South Africa.’

Picture: Pexels

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