South Africa is gearing up to allow more routes for international visitors to enter the country through “key national points”. These preparation and readiness plans were presented by the Department of Home Affairs during a recent briefing.

According to the Department, there are 20 land borders including the usually-busy ports of entry at Beitbridge and Lebombo that will allow foreign nationals back into South Africa.

“We’ve agreed on certain things that need to be done to reopen our borders. More signings and markings have been put in place at border points, with more hand sanitisation stations and fencing brought in. The delegation of Public Order Policing will also be increased, so we can deal with unruly crowds and undocumented travellers in a more efficient manner,” the Department said, as reported by The South African.

A schedule was also revealed, stipulating dates for specific tasks in making this happen:

February 10 – Home Affairs expect to have border reopening plans finalised

February 12 – Final improvement of infrastructure at border posts to be completed and confirmation of additional police support to be given

February 14 – The installation of all hand sanitisation stations to be completed at 20 land crossings

February 15 – State of Disaster laws expire, but may be renewed beforehand

February 2021 – Ensure there are an additional three officers per testing point in place

Home Affairs plans to increase both testing capacity and the presence of police at the country’s busiest land borders. A ticket system may also be introduced to ensure there is no crowding, which could prevent a “super-spreader” event.

“We have had a meeting with our colleagues from the Health Department. We have asked for additional testing capacity at border points. We also want them to send more people to deal with higher demand. Queue management systems must be upgraded and reviewed,” the Department said.

“Testing should be diverted and confined to a selected number of ports where adequate capacity exists. We want the inclusion of private-sector testing stations to ensure adequate services are available. Also, the implementation of a ticket system that will manage the queues for those travellers who are in need of antigen testing.”

Picture: SA Borders/Twitter

Picture: SA Borders

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Lucinda is a hard news writer who occasionally dabbles in lifestyle writing, and recent journalism graduate. She is a proud intersectional feminist, and is passionate about actively creating a world which is free of discrimination and inequality.