The requirement of negative Covid-19 certificates caused a large backlog at some South African borders, leaving thousands stranded.
Cars and people have been stuck at the Beitbridge Border Post between Mzansi and Zimbabwe for days, while some travellers returned to Maputo after allegedly spending three days without food or water at the Lebombo Border between Mozambique and South Africa.
A lot of the travellers thought they could use the negative Covid-19 certificates that were initially accepted for 14 days. They’re now required to be less than 72 hours old.
According to Home Affairs Dr Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, many people arrived with fake paperwork while others simply didn’t have access to the tests required.
“We have found quite a large number of people who produced invalid Covid-19 certificates,” he said.
The minister said that about 500 people were being turned away every day in and around the Beitbridge post.
Motsoaledi said the country had no capacity to take in Covid-19 patients from neighbouring countries.
The chaos at the border posts caused uneasiness all over social media, with people calling for an urgent intervention by the government.
Here is one of the videos making rounds on social media of stranded people at ‘Beitbridge’ border post sleeping on the ground during the night:
— omiezumbie (@omiezumbie) January 7, 2021
The DA in Limpopo expressed concern over what it described as indifference with which the provincial government handled the Beitbridge border post.
ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba said the situation showed, once again, that they could not solve the problems of the world or the continent.
“Weak immigration policy and porous borders are now putting thousands of lives at risk.
“We must never be silenced. This issue will make or break South Africa,” he claimed.
EFF Commissar Mbuyiseni Ndlozi called for the borders to be opened for everyone.
“Please open the borders from Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Mozambique!
“They are not bringing Covid-19. They left it here and will find it here.
“Let them in. It’s not fair. They live here. They are from here.
“They are part of us! This #CloseBeitbridgeBorder hashtag must be rejected with all the contempt it deserves! Let our people in,” said Ndlozi.
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