A number of new directives, that make room for more travel under South Africa lockdown Level 3, have been published by the Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula.
One of the main points mentioned is that from June 1, all forms of public transport, including taxis and buses may now operate at any time of the day as regulations ease. This is a big shift from Level 4’s time restriction that only allowed road-based public transport to operate between 5am and 7pm daily.
Mbalula noted that capacity restrictions will, however, remain in place. Minibus taxis will only be allowed to be at 70% capacity while buses, shuttles and other forms of transport may only be at 50% capacity.
According to the minister, the Passenger Rail Association of SA (Prasa) will not resume services until July 1.
The Gautrain service will also resume operations along the following routes
-Sandton to OR Tambo International Airport.
-Park Station to Hatfield.
Inter-provincial travel for those approved to travel will also be allowed under Level 3.
With regards to air travel, Mbalula has stated that commercial domestic passenger flights may resume from June 1, but not domestic passenger flight that are recreational or for leisure and tourism purposes, only those related to business. Commercial domestic flight will only be permitted to use Cape Town International Airport, King Shaka International Airport, OR Tambo International Airport, and Lanseria Airport.
International passenger flights will remain prohibited under Level 3 except if they are authorised by the minister of transport for the purposes of repatriation of South African nationals or the evacuation of said nationals from South Africa.
Safety guidelines which need to be followed with regards to air travel include:
Today [May 30], South African Airways (SAA) managed to secure approval from government to open up a portal for repatriation flights to and from several international destinations. The airline further encourages the use of its portal for those interested in the repatriation flights. This is after SAA approached government to grant a special dispensation to continue to operate international repatriation flights due to continued demand.
“We require an expression of interest by passengers to determine the commercial and logistical viability of operating these flights. Due to numerous enquiries that we have received through various channels, including our social media platforms and our foreign missions, we decided to open a portal to gauge the real traveller interest,” said Tebogo Tsimane, acting General Manager for Operations.
Operation of the following flights have been approved by government:
“Registration on the portal determines the viability of the flight and once the demand supports the operational viability of the flight, an SAA staff member will contact interested customers to book their flight and issue the tickets,” Tsimane explained.
There are specific requirements per destination and customers are encouraged to familiarise themselves with those requirements for compliance with the regulations and to stand a chance to be able to travel.
Some of the requirements and conditions include the following:
– Payment of ticket via prescribed method of payment (electronic bank transfers).
– Baggage allowance for a charter flight is standard two (2) pieces at 23kg per piece and one (1) x 7kg for hand luggage per passenger.
– All passengers MUST carry their own PPE/Masks for the flight.
– No one who has tested positive for COVID-19 will be allowed to board the flight.
– A refund will be provided if passengers are not approved to travel or you show symptoms of COVID-19 on the day of departure.
– Passengers are responsible for their own onward connections if applicable.
– No pets and live animals will be allowed. However, guide dogs will be allowed.
“Registration on the portal does not constitute a reservation for the flight, it is only a record of customers’ interest. We urge customers not to make any payments into the SAA bank account until they have been confirmed by SAA and received a booking reference which they will use to make payment,” concluded Tsimane.
The airline will update its registration portal on a regular basis to include new destinations once approvals have been secured.
SAA has operated 56 repatriation flights to six continents since 3 April to date and safely reunited 11, 367 passengers with their families and loved ones during the lockdown. In addition, the airline transferred 1000024 kilograms of combined import and export cargo during the same period.