Home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi hopes airline Covid-19 issues are resolved swiftly

04 October 2020 - 16:03 By Lwandile Bhengu
Emirates has cancelled all flights in and out of Durban's King Shaka International Airport.
Emirates has cancelled all flights in and out of Durban's King Shaka International Airport.
Image: Emirates

Home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi says his office is aware of the issues surrounding maritime and airline crews being treated like passengers when it comes to Covid-19 testing and compliance.

This after Emirates Airlines pulled flights to the country.

In an interview with eNCA, Carla da Silva, chairperson at the Board of Airline Representatives, said that the major problem was the requirement for cabin crew to produce negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR), like passengers, whenever they entered the country.

In a statement on Sunday, Motsoaledi's department said transport minister Fikile Mbalula was dealing with the matter.

“Minister Motsoaledi is fully aware of the issue of airline and maritime crews and he has been informed that the minister of transport is resolving the matter and a statement to that effect will hopefully be issued by the minister of transport today [Sunday]," they said.

“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,” they added.

The statement followed a meeting Motsoaledi had with senior immigration officials and ports of entry managers to speak about the challenges arising from the new travel regulations.

In the statement, the department also said that the visa-free status of citizens from the following countries and territories has been reinstated:

  • South Korea;
  • Spain;
  • Italy;
  • Germany;
  • Hong Kong;
  • Singapore;
  • USA;
  • UK;
  • France;
  • Portugal; and
  • Iran.

This visa-free status does not alter the current Covid-19 regulations, the statement said.

“The minister has instructed officials to communicate this decision to the aviation industry, embassies and other stakeholders as a matter of urgency,” it added.

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