South Africans can come back home, but will be subject to Covid rules

Home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi speaks on amended level 3 lockdown regulations regarding the closure of SA's 20 land borders

12 January 2021 - 18:57 By Amanda Khoza
South Africans cannot be prevented from returning home as long as they abide by Covid-19 rules. File photo.
South Africans cannot be prevented from returning home as long as they abide by Covid-19 rules. File photo.
Image: Foto24/Lulama Zenzile/Gallo Images

The government cannot prevent South Africans from returning home, home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi said on Tuesday as he confirmed that the country's 20 land borders would be closed until February 15.

Motsoaledi was briefing the media after President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to retain SA on level 3 lockdown restrictions, regulations and enforcement.

The minister expanded on the closure of the land borders and outlined measures that the department has instituted at its offices to curb the increasing number of infections.

“We have closed all the 20 land borders which were opened during level 1 lockdown,” said Motsoaledi adding that the list of all the borders was available on the department's website.

“The closure will exempt certain very important services, which will include cargo and commercial goods, emergency medical treatment within the country, opening for diplomats and the deportation of people from SA. This includes opening for people who wish to go back home,” he said.

Motsoaledi said could not prevent people from going home.

He said exemptions would “also include learners from our neighbouring countries who attend school every day in SA but sleep in their respective countries”.

“If people do not fall under the mentioned categories but believe their case is worth considering they can apply to the minister of home affairs for exemption,” the minister said.

Those applying must provide a copy of their passport, copy of temporary visa and a demonstration of extraordinary circumstances as to why they should be permitted to enter or leave SA. They also have to indicate how long they intend being in the country and provide proof of residency in SA.

The applications can be made to

However, he said, people who would be allowed to enter the republic in normal circumstances will still be subjected to regular Covid-19 protocols.

Earlier, co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma repeated Ramaphosa's announcement of the night before that all gatherings, apart from funerals, were still prohibited, along with night clubs and lifestyle establishments.

Dlamini-Zuma added that, among others, social, political, traditional council and faith-based organisation meetings were still prohibited. The sale and distribution of liquor is not allowed and beaches, public parks and dams continue to be closed.