South Africans may travel to and from all African countries, although countries outside of the continent may be temporarily banned from October 1 when international travel resumes. Countries with high infection rates will not be open to South Africans until their infection rate lowers.

The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, made this announcement on Friday [September 18] during a media briefing on the regulations relating to the COVID-19 Level 1 restrictions.

Here are the key points from her address:

International travel:

Borders will reopen on October 1. International travel is allowed to and from all countries on the African continent and countries outside the continent with a low rate of COVID-19 infection, subject to:

– the traveler providing a valid certificate of a negative test which was obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel; and

– in the event of the traveler’s failure to submit a certificate as proof of a negative test, the traveler will be required to quarantine at his or her own costs.

To temporarily control entry into the Republic from countries outside the African Continent, the relevant Cabinet members shall, after consultation with the Cabinet member responsible for health, determine in directions

– criteria for controlling entry into the Republic, from such countries with a high COVID -19 infection and transmission rate;

– the list of such countries with a high COVID -19 infection and transmission rate, which list may, from time to time, be amended.

– International travel from countries listed as having a high COVID -19 infection and transmission rate, will remain prohibited except for business travel which may be allowed with the approval of the Cabinet member responsible for home affairs.

For other international travel, a schedule will be drawn up and may change at any time. Countries with high infection rates will not be allowed to enter until their infections come under control.

Visa applications will reopen and long-term visas will be re-established from October 1.

Only three airports will fly internationally: OR Tambo International, King Shaka International and Cape Town International. All commercial seaports will reopen, but not for tourists. Passenger ships are still closed, cruise ships are not allowed to offload people onto South African shores.

The already open 18 land borders will reopen for movement of tourists, and the other 35 will remain closed.


Funerals move from 50 maximum to 100 maximum capacity. If the venue is small and cannot contain 100 people with 1.5-metre distance between people, it must operate at half-capacity. Night vigils are still prohibited and health protocols remain in place.


Religious gatherings may go ahead with a maximum of 250 people in a venue. If the venue is too small to accommodate social distancing regulations, it must run at half-capacity. The same applies for social gatherings. Outdoor venues may not host more than 500 people.

Night clubs and sports spectators are still not allowed. Initiation schools remain closed, although government will discuss further with religious leaders.

Residents must still wear a mask whenever in public.


Gyms and fitness centres are allowed no more than 50% of the venue’s capacity.


Picture: Facebook / SA Government

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