Statement by the Minister of Transport regarding Alert Level 1 Regional and International Travel

Close to 200 days ago, civil aviation activities as
we know them came to a screeching halt.
Between the 01 April – 30 May 2020, when the
country was on Level 4, a total of 19 206
passengers landed at our airports.
Most of these flights were mainly for essential
services and the repatriation and evacuation of
foreign nationals and locals respectively.
When domestic travel commenced at the
beginning of June 2020 during alert Level 3, this
number went up to 391 720 passengers that
landed at approved airports in total.
The statistics for the month of September 2020
will only be reconciled a few weeks down the
Our statistics show that in the past five (5) years
the average number of passengers traversing
between our airports amounted to an average of
1,8 million per month with the highest recorded
figures indicating that over 2 million passengers
per month land at our airports during peak travel
seasons such as the Easter and Christmas
These figures are not meant to shock you but
are merely a demonstration of the real impact of
COVID-19 on the civil aviation industry activities
and businesses since the World Health
Organization announced the global outbreak of
this virus in the first quarter of the year 2020.
In line with the announcement of the President
of the Republic, His Excellency Cyril
Ramaphosa, as well as the Regulations issued
by the Minister of COGTA, Dr Nkosazana
Dlamini-Zuma, international travel is now
permitted as of 01 October 2020.
It is therefore my immense pleasure to
announce the Directions which are effectively
setting in motion and signaling the reopening of
Regional and International travel from and into
South Africa.
With effect from 01 October 2020, international
passenger flights, inbound into our country from
the African continent and from other countries
outside the African continent, as determined in
accordance with the list determined by the
Minister of Home Affairs following conditions:
Compliance Requirements for Operators
(Airline and Commercial Operators)

  1. A Foreign Operator (meaning an airline) is
    required to submit procedures that show the
    level of compliance with South African
    COVID-19 legislation for approval to the South
    African Civil Aviation Authority.
  2. Foreign Air Ambulance Services are
    permitted to transport COVID-19 positive
    patients; provided that they obtain approval
    from the Department of Health, a permit issued
    by the Department of Transport, and comply
    with the Department of Health Protocols and
    the Air Ambulance Guidelines that are in place.
  3. An Operator shall not board any passenger
    without a valid negative Polymerase Chain
    Reaction (“PCR”) or a valid COVID-19
    negative test certificate.
  4. South African authorities reserve the right to
    verify the authenticity of presented PCR or
    COVID-19 test certificates.
  5. Operators are allowed to provide catering
    on-board an aircraft, i.e. provided that they
    take all risk mitigation, health and safety
    measures to contain the spread of COVID-19,
    including the provision of pre-packed meals.
    Compliance Requirements Relating to
  6. Passengers are required to wear face
    masks at all times and may only remove face
    masks during emergencies or when instructed
    by cabin crew to take them off, and must
    observe social distancing, ensure hand
    washing, and sanitize regularly.
  7. A passenger who is unable to wear a face
    mask due to an underlying medical condition
    must submit a medical certificate from a
    registered medical practitioner to the Operator
    prior to departure.
  8. A child under the age of two years may be
    exempted from wearing a face mask. This is
    because masks can restrict breathing for small
    children as their airways are smaller than older
    children and adults.
  9. A passenger must provide to the Operator a
    negative PCR test certificate or a valid
    COVID-19 negative test certificate, obtained
    not more than 72 hours before the date of
    travel, from an accredited laboratory and in
    line with the World Health Organization
  10. An “immunity passport”, “risk-free certificate”
    or “passport immunity” in respect of COVID-19
    is not acceptable.
  11. If a passenger is symptomatic, the
    necessary protocols of the Department of
    Health will be followed.
  12. In the event of the passenger’s failure, for
    whatever reason, to submit a certificate as
    proof of a negative PCR test certificate or a
    valid COVID-19 negative test certificate upon
    arrival in South Africa, the passenger shall be
    subjected to a compulsory quarantine at a
    g o v e r n m e n t d e s i g n a t e d f a c i l i t y a s
    contemplated for in Health Directions, at his or
    her own cost.
  13. International travel from countries listed as
    having a high COVID-19 infection and
    transmission rate, is prohibited, except for
    business travel, which may be allowed with the
    approval of the Cabinet member responsible
    for Home Affairs, in which case such
    passengers must comply with the stipulated
  14. A passenger in transit must be in
    possession of a negative PCR test certificate
    or a valid COVID-19 negative test certificate,
    obtained not more than 72 hours before the
    date of travel, from an accredited laboratory.
  15. A passenger in transit who displays
    symptoms of COVID-19 must, upon arrival and
    under the direction of Ports Health:
    (a) Be taken through primary and secondary
    screening, including COVID-19 testing,
    where applicable;
    (b) Be quarantined, at own cost, if a positive
    test result is obtained. In this case, all
    Department of Health protocols and
    Department of Transport guidelines must be
    adhered to.
    Compliance Requirements Relating to Crew
  16. Crew members are required to wear face
    masks at all times, except when conducting a
    safety briefing and during an emergency.
  17. Crew members shall upon arrival in South
    Africa be subjected to health protocols as
    contemplated for in Health Directions.
  18. An Operator must ensure the following risk
    mitigation measures for crew members:
    (a) conduct risk assessments to ensure that
    crew members are fit and proper before
    they undertake their travel duties and
    mitigate the risk of COVID-19 crew
    infections; and
    (b) ensure that crew members are protected
    whilst on duty.
    International Schedule and Charter Flights
    International scheduled and Charter flights
    carrying passengers are allowed through the
    following airports:
  19. OR Tambo International Airport;
  20. King Shaka International Airport; and
  21. Cape Town International Airport.
    International Outbound Flights
    With regard to international outbound flights the
    following applies:
  22. subject to the travel requirements of a
    country of destination, a passenger must
    provide to the Operator a negative PCR test
    certificate or a valid COVID-19 negative test
    certificate from an accredited laboratory and
  23. an Operator is responsible to ensure that
    p a s s e n g e r s c o m p l y w i t h C O V I D – 1 9
    requirements of the country of destination.
    A Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) has been issued
    that informs pilots who are planning their flights
    to note and comply with South Africa’s legal
    requirements in line with Alert Level 1.
    His Excellency, President Cyril Ramaphosa
    reminded us that the virus is still with us; and
    therefore, any careless actions from our side will
    determine if we remain on Alert Level 1 for
    longer or not.
    We are exercising extra caution as most
    countries who have previously witnessed a drop
    in the number of infections suffer what health
    experts call a second wave.
    We are encouraged by the use of technology
    that in our airports, in the form of Smart Security
    checkpoint. This technology digitises the
    security check process, speeds up passenger
    progress through security, and further enhance
    security using state-of-the-art scanners.
    This technology is impressive, reduces human
    contact and we have been verily advised that
    this is one of the ways of reducing the spread of
    The utilization of this technology ensures that
    there is no physical pat-downs of passengers,
    who often set off security alarms because the
    scanning technology is much better at detecting
    objects that should not be carried on or around
    the person.
    For the sake of our economy and the lives of all
    South Africans as well as those citizens who do
    business with our country, we urge you to
    cooperate with all civil aviation operators as they
    make the best out of a very difficult situation.
    The responsibility is upon each and everyone of
    us using the civil aviation network to ensure that
    we adhere to the set standards issued by
    several government departments such as the
    Department of Health, the Department of
    Transport, the Department of Employment and
    Labour and their respective agencies.
    Cross-Border Road Passengers from all
    countries in the continent is permitted and
    travelers can only enter through permitted land
    ports determined by Minister of Home Affairs
    and would be subjected to all health protocols
    determined by Minister of Health.
    As of October 01, 2020 all commercial sea ports
    are operational.Signing on crew must produce a
    negative Polymerase Chain Reaction (“PCR”)
    test certificate or a valid certificate of COVID-19
    negative test results,obtained not more than
    72hours before the date of travel,from an
    acredited laboratory and in line with World
    Health Organization requirements at the first
    SouthAfrican Port of Entry.
    Cruise ships are prohibited from calling at any of
    the South African sea ports,except for the
    disembarkation of returning-
    (a) South African crew;
    (b) South African citizens;or
    (c)holders of South African permanent residence
    Passenger ships are allowed to call at any
    South African sea port only
    for the following purposes:
    (a) Disembarking returning South African
    citizens and holders of South African
    permanent residence permits;
    (b) Replenishing fuel,stores and provisions;
    (c) medical evacuation; and
    (d) search and rescue.
    Alert leve 1 brings no changes for public
    transport, however we are closely monitoring
    the situation and the following conditions are still
    applicable :
    -Mini-buses, midi-buses and buses are only
    permitted to carry a maximum of 70% of their
    licensed passenger carrying capacity when
    undertaking long distance travel. Long distance
    is defined as any distance in excess of 200km
    irrespective of whether it crosses Provincial
    boundaries or not.
    -Short-distance public transport of 200km or
    less, for buses, mini-buses, midi-buses, ehailing services, metered taxis, shuttle service,
    chauffer driven vehicles and scholar transport
    vehicles is permitted to carry 100% of their
    maximum license passenger capacity.
    As we continue to confront this pandemic, we
    should remain vigilant and follow all necessary
    health protocols. Indeed, we have walked a long
    walk through this pandemic to easily let our
    guard down; as such the words by one of our
    great Statesman, Nelson Mandela are as
    apposite as they were then and must resonate
    with each and everyone of us. Madiba once
    “I have walked that long road to freedom. I have
    tried not to falter; I have made missteps along
    the way. But I have discovered the secret that
    after climbing a great hill, one only finds that
    there are many more hills to climb. I have taken
    a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the
    glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on
    the distance I have come. But I can only rest for
    a moment, for with freedom come
    responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long
    walk is not ended”.
    It has been a long and difficult 6 months since
    the first declaration of Covid-19 disaster. We
    have been through the rough seas and have hit
    some turbulences during this period. Together
    as a Nation, we have held hands and traversed
    through this disaster. As we enter Alert level 1,
    we dare not linger but must remain resilient,
    cautious, adhere to health protocols and adjust
    to the new normal as we simultaneously prepare
    for the next normal.
    I thank you… [END]

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