NCCC announcement on the re-opening of the borders for international travellers

NCCC announcement on the re-opening of the borders for international travellers

In a press briefing held today, 30 September 2020, South Africa’s National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) released further information on the re-opening of borders and ports of entry for international travellers, effective from tomorrow, 1 October.

Based on the latest WHO criteria on infection and death rates, South Africa has developed a risk categorisation model for different international travellers. This model classifies international travellers according to a scale of high, medium and low risk.

High-risk travellers are those who come from countries with higher numbers of COVID-19 infections and reported deaths compared to South Africa.

Medium risk travellers are from countries with a relatively equal number of infections and death toll to South Africa. Low-risk travellers originate from countries with lesser number of infections of COVID-19 and death toll than South Africa.

The list of countries and categorisation will be reviewed every two weeks and updated based on the latest WHO figures.

  • Leisure travellers from high-risk countries will not be permitted.
  • Exceptions will be made for individuals from high-risk countries who are business travellers with scarce and critical skills, diplomats, repatriated persons, investors and people participating in professional sporting and cultural events.
  • If the passport of the traveller from a high-risk country indicates that they have spent 10 days or more in a low-risk country before departure, they will be considered to be arriving from a low-risk country and subject to the low-risk entry requirements.
  • Airlines from high-risk countries are not necessarily banned, but their crew will be required to isolate in facilities at designated accommodation at the cost of their employer.
  • Travellers (leisure, business and other) from medium- and low-risk countries will only be allowed into the country subject to the prevailing visa requirements.
  • Travellers from all African countries are allowed and must possess relevant travel documents and will also be screened for COVID-19 symptoms.

The list of countries currently considered high risk, and from which leisure travellers are not allowed can be found published by Business Insider. This list, beginning with the Dominican Republic is believed to be incomplete at the moment, omitting countries A-D. We are currently working to source the official and complete list and will update members as soon as it is known.

Borders to reopen

Johannesburg’s OR Tambo, Durban’s King Shaka and Cape Town International Airports are the only airports that will allow international air travel to arrive or depart.

The 35 land borders that were closed during the previous lockdown levels will remain closed. The 18 land borders which were partially operational during the previous lockdown levels will be fully operational (i.e. allow passage of South Africans and permitted foreign nationals).

Entry requirements for all arrivals

  • A valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) from the time of departure from the country of origin to South Africa. The test must be conducted by a certified medical practitioner and the certificate must have the name and signature of the practitioner who conducted the test.
  • Failure to present proof of a valid and negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost.
  • Upon arrival in the port of entry, the traveller will be screened for any COVID-19 symptoms and/or for contact with people who have been infected with the COVID-19 virus.
  • Travellers must provide proof of accommodation address should they need to self-quarantine at the time of arrival in the country, subject to the accommodation allowing for self-quarantine.
  • Should the traveller display any COVID-19–related symptoms or have been in contact with an infected person, they will be expected to take a mandatory COVID-19 test. This test will be at the traveller’s cost. If the COVID-19 test comes back positive, the traveller will be subjected to a 10-day quarantine at a designated site. The accommodation at a quarantine site will be at the traveller’s cost.
  • All travellers will be asked to download the COVID Alert South Africa mobile app.
  • Travel insurance is mandatory for all travellers to covers any cost of testing or quarantine.
  • It is the responsibility of the airlines to check that passengers boarding flights to South Africa meet the requirements of entry.

Visa services

The Department of Home Affairs is extending the validity of legally issued visas which expired during lockdown to 31 Jan 2021. This pertains to visa holders currently in South Africa who will be allowed to remain in the country under the terms of their visa. From now until 31 January, they will also be able to depart South Africa on an expired visa without being declared ‘undesirable’.

DHA services for ID cards and passports will resume in full as well as visa submissions through VFS.

COGTA releases Level 1 Regulations – Awaiting clarity on list of ‘allowed’ countries

The Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs has promulgated new Lockdown Level 1 Regulations. Attached are the Regulations.

Contained within the Government Gazette no. 43725, published 18 September, are the following regulations pertaining to gatherings and the partial reopening of borders:

Gatherings:

  • All attendees at a gathering must wear a face mask, adhere to all health protocols, and maintain at least 1,5 metres social distancing.
  • The certificate of occupancy stating the maximum number of persons a facility can hold must be displayed at the facility (both outdoor and indoor).
  • Social events, conferences, meetings, and recreation (e.g. cinemas, theatres, concerts and live performances): gatherings at indoor facilities must be limited to 250 people or less; and 500 people or less at outdoor facilities; provided no more than 50% of the capacity of the venue is used, with observance of at least 1,5 metres social distancing.
  • Casinos: gatherings are allowed, subject to the limitation of not more than 50% of the capacity of the venue, with observance of at least 1,5 metres social distancing.
  • Gyms, fitness centres and swimming pools: gatherings are allowed, subject to the limitation of not more than 50% of the capacity of the venue.
  • Sports grounds and fields; beaches and public parks; and museums, galleries, libraries, and archives: gatherings are allowed subject to strict adherence to health protocols and social distancing measures.
  • Restaurants: gatherings are allowed subject to the curfew, number of persons, health protocols and social distancing measures.
  • Bars, taverns, shebeens, and similar establishments: gatherings are allowed, subject to the limitation of not more than 50% of the capacity of the venue, with observance of at least 1,5 metres social distancing. Night clubs are closed to the public.
  • Hotels, lodges, bed and breakfasts, timeshare facilities, resorts and guesthouses: gatherings are allowed, subject to the limitation of not more than 50% of the capacity of the venue, with observance of at least 1,5 metres social distancing.

Partial reopening of borders:

  • The 18 land borders which were partially operational during the previous lockdown levels will be fully operational (i.e. allow passage of South Africans and permitted foreign nationals). The 35 land borders that were closed during the previous lockdown levels will remain closed.
  • All commercial seaports will be opened for the transport of goods and crew, but will remain closed to passengers.
  • From 1 October 2020, all travellers from the African continent and from countries outside the African continent with a low rate of COVID-19 infection and transmission will be permitted to enter South Africa.
  • All arrivals to South Africa will be required to present a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 test, obtained not more than 72 hours (3 days) before the date of travel. Failure to present proof of a negative test will require the traveller to quarantine at their own cost. All travellers will be screened on arrival and anyone presenting symptoms will be required to remain in quarantine until a repeat COVID-19 test is conducted. All travellers will be asked to download the COVID Alert South Africa mobile app.
  • Travel may be restricted to and from certain countries that have high infection and transmission rates. International business travel from those countries deemed ‘high-risk’ may be allowed with approval from Home Affairs.
  • The list of permitted and prohibited countries will be based on the latest scientific data and updated accordingly. NOTE: The Ministers concerned are currently in consultations regarding this list with the aim to publish it before 1 October.
  • Johannesburg’s OR Tambo, Durban’s King Shaka and Cape Town International Airports are the only airports that will allow international air travel to arrive or depart.
  • South African missions abroad will open for visa applications and all long-term visas will be reinstated.

Other regulations to note:

  • Face masks are required in public places, except when undertaking vigorous exercise.
  • Domestic travel and transport regulations will remain the same.
  • The national curfew is between midnight and 04h00.
  • The sale of liquor for off-site consumption is permitted from 09h00 to 17h00 from Mondays to Friday, excluding weekends and public holidays. On-site consumption is permitted, subject to strict adherence to the curfew.

New Closing Dates For Coronavirus COVID-19 TERS Benefit Payments

Notwithstanding previous media statements, the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), has extended the processing of new claims for April to September following consultations with social partners at National Economic Development and Labour Council.

The new dates are set out as follows:

COVID-19 TERS benefit applications for March 2020 to May 2020 shall close on 25 September 2020, and no further applications for that period, shall be accepted beyond that date.
COVID-19 TERS benefit applications for June 2020 shall close on 15 October 2020, and no further applications for that period, shall be accepted beyond that date.
COVID-19 TERS benefit applications for July to 15 September 2020 shall close 30 October 2020, and no further applications for that period, shall be accepted beyond that date.

The closing dates will not affect claims that have already been submitted, as they will be processed and paid once the outstanding information is finally submitted to the Fund.

Currently payments are still on hold as the Fund is still working with the Department of Home Affairs and other government databases to verify about 5 million identity documents of COVID-19 TERS applications. This is done to ensure that payments are made to deserving and authentic workers.

An announcement will be made in due course about when the Fund will resume with payments again.

“We are aware of the negative impact this delay has caused and is causing. But in the interests of mitigating the risks which have been identified both by our Risk Unit and the Auditor General, we unfortunately have to pause payments. As soon as we have a sense of comfort with the steps taken, we will announce to the country the resumption of payments,” said Marsha Bronkhorst, acting UIF Commissioner.

Guideline to transport matters in Government Gazettes 43538 & 43539

At all times it is prudent to read this simplified document with the Notice as published by the Minister. For ease of reference and understanding, the Association has simplified the Gazette and highlighted aspects that are specifically of importance to its Members. Focus of these Gazettes:

  • Transportation & distribution of liquor
  • Validity of licences (driver & vehicle), roadworthy certificates, temporary permits & PrDPs

Government Gazette 43538 Regulation 9: Transportation and storage of liquor The following transportation and storage of liquor is allowed from 22 July 2020:

  • from manufacturing plants to storage facilities,
  • to ports of exit for export purposes.

Government Gazette 43539 Regulation 6: Validity period of licences The following comes into effect from 22 July 2020:

  • All learner’s licences, driving licence cards, temporary driving licences and professional driving permits that expire during the period that commenced from 26 March 2020 up to and including 31 August 2020 are deemed to be valid and their validity period is extended for a further grace period ending on 31 January 2021,
  • All motor vehicle licence discs, temporary permits and roadworthy certificates that expired during the period that commenced from 26 March 2020 up to and including 31 May 2020 are deemed to be valid and their validity period is extended for a further grace period ending on 31 August 2020,
  • Motor trade number licences that expired during the period that commenced from 26 March 2020 up to and including 31 May 2020 are deemed to be valid and are extended for a further grace period ending on 30 November 2020.

Further updates will be forwarded as received.

Alert Level 3: Regulations, Guidelines and forms

The Minister for COGTA published Gazette 43364 yesterday afternoon – which stipulated the permitted activities and services under Alert Level 3 from 01 June 2020. Please note that – whilst the contents of the Gazette refer to Alert Level 3 – the transportation and distribution of alcohol is permitted from 29 May 2020 (i.e. from today).

The Gazette plus the guideline document (and the new Permit for employees – Form 2 – plus the new form for those wishing to move residence – Form 6 – are below). We have also attached word formats of these forms.

At this stage we have not received any communication relating to the requirement of a NEW CIPC Certificate. This may, however, still materialise before 01 June 2020.

Downloads:

Disaster Management Act Determination of Alert Levels and Hotspots 28 May 2020

Guideline to Alert Level 3 under the conditions of Government Notice 43364 issued by the Minister of Corporate Governance and Traditional Affairs on 28 May 2020

Form 2

Form 6

Adjustment to the lock down level

Dear Member,

The President addressed the Nation on the evening of 23 April 2020. The address was primarily focussed on the status of the lock down after 30 April 2020, as well as the policy the Government would follow into the future in terms of the withdrawal of the lock down, the stages this would involve and the focus on getting the economy back on track.

The address by the President on 21 April, as well as the policy document relating the various levels of lock down, how these would take place and what they entailed, have been included in this communication.

Please note that – subject to any gazettes published – the current lock down conditions remain in force until such time as specific directives are published either amending or removing the current restrictions.  Whilst we are all suffering under the most severe financial and operational conditions – we have to wait for the relevant gazettes to be published.

Kind regards,

Sandile Ntseoane | General Manager | SAVRALA

Formation Only: Amended Department of Labour COVID-19 TERS Directive

On 26 March 2020, The Minister of Employment and Labour issued out a directive that determined that it is necessary to implement steps through the Covid19 Temporary Employee / Employer Relief Scheme to prevent an escalation of the COVID -19 infections funded through the National Disaster Benefit. The purpose of this Directive is to make provision for the:

1) Payment of benefits to the Contributors who have lost income due to the COVID -19 pandemic

2) Minimise economic impact of loss of employment because of the pandemic

3) Avoid contact and contain the spread of COVID -19 during the process of application for benefit

4) Establish the Temporary Employee /Employer Relief Scheme and set out the application process for benefits of the COVID -19 pandemic.

On 8 April 2020, The Minister of Employment and Labour issued out an amendment of the above mentioned directive. Please find attached the Amended COVID-19 Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme directive.

Members with any queries are requested to submit them to Sanelisiwe Jantjies: Sanelisiwe.Jantjies@busa.org.za

Download PDFs:

Department of Labour COVID-19 TERS Directive

Amended Depratment of Labour COVID-19 TERS Directive