Alert level 4
Permitted overseas travel for South Africans
Approved essential travel for South Africans who want to return to countries where they are based. (Statement by Department of Home Affairs)
South Africans who wish to leave the Republic are permitted to depart only for the following reasons:
- Family reunion
- Take up permanent residency
- Receive medical attention
South Africans wishing to return to the countries where they reside should have the following:
(a) A copy of their valid South African passport
(b) A letter confirming their admissibility under the current circumstances from the embassy or other diplomatic/consular representative of the country they want to travel to. If returning by road or connecting via flights, the proof submitted needs to include permission from each transiting country.
(c) Proof of means of travel such as air or bus tickets and the intended date of departure.
South Africans who fall in these categories and satisfy the criteria can send an email to Covid19travel@dha.gov.za.
An email will be sent to travellers who meet the criteria to enable them to proceed with their travel arrangements.
People applying as a group can send one email with the supporting documents for each member of the group.
PUBLIC ENQUIRIES: 0800 60 11 90
Amended directions on the once-off movement of persons and transportation of goods (Gazette 43320 of 14 May 2020)
3. (a) A person who needs to travel to his or her new place of residence or business and to transport goods which are limited to household or office furniture and effects. as required by the circumstances in paragraph 2 of these Directions. is permitted to do so during Alert level 4.
(b) A person referred to in subparagraph (a) must -
(i) obtain a permit to travel across provincial, metropolitan or district boundaries from the head of court or a person designated by him or her, or the station commander of a police station or a person designated by him or her. The permit must correspond with Form 1 to these Directions;
(ii) indicate the persons who are part of the household who will be required to move; and
(iii) have in his or her possession the relevant lease agreements indicating the date of expiry of the old lease or the date of commencement of the new lease, or the proof of purchase of residence and occupation date. or the transfer documents attesting to the change of ownership of property, or a domestic violence order, or proof of change or new occupation of business premises.
Directions to permit travel of final year medical students (Gazette 43319 of 13 May 2020)
Allow for the once off travel of final year medical students studying at public higher education institutions to travel from their homes to the university campus where they are registered for study during the period 8 -31 May 2020.
Amended directions on movements of persons and goods (Gazette 43293 of 7 May 2020)
2 (a) The movement of persons and goods, where -
(i) new lease agreements were entered into before or during the lockdown period: or
(ii) the transfer of immovable property occurred before the lockdown period, requires a change in place of residence. including the transport of goods to a new place of residence, within the Republic.
(b) The circumstances in subparagraph (a) require the once-off movement of persons who are relocating to their new place of residence, as permitted in terms of regulation 16(5): and
(c) The transport of goods within the Republic is permitted in terms of regulation 22(1)(f).
In respect of maritime transport, there will be no changes to the Directions regulating the movement of ships. The ban on passenger vessels and cruise liners remains in place, and only vessels bringing in cargo are allowed to call on our ports.
However, we will allow the movement of cargo from our sea-ports to either warehouses or final destinations as provided for in the current rules.
The ban on both domestic and international passenger flights remains in place. However, as is already the case, we will continue to allow repatriation flights either bringing back South Africans stranded in foreign countries or transporting foreign nationals to their home countries. The current approval procedures to permit departure or landing of such flights remains unchanged.
The easing of the lockdown to Level 4 means increased economic activity in sectors that are permitted to resume operations.
Due consideration will be given to the mining and agricultural sector to allow limited movement of aircrafts, either to transport essential workers by chartered aircrafts or to spray pesticides on crops. All these movements will be subject to approval and permits will be issued on a case by case basis.
No scheduled domestic flights will be permitted in Level 4. This is determined by the Risk Adjusted Strategy, which guides the easing of restrictions. Once the alert level moves to Level 3, limited movement of scheduled domestic flights will be allowed. It is only when the country’s alert level reaches Level 2, that we will fully open our airspace and allow movement of both domestic and international flights.
With the gradual resumption of economic activity in certain sectors and permitted movement of freight, we will allow the full resumption of freight rail.
Commuter rail will resume operations gradually on an incremental basis, based on the detailed plans submitted by the passenger rail operators. Limited services with strict measures to ensure social distancing and other mitigation measures, will be introduced.
Gautrain operations will be gradually re-introduced in all rail-based services, covering 8 of their 9 stations. There will be no airport service.
An appropriate load factor will be applied by all operators based on their seating and standing arrangements according to 50% standard coach occupancy.
Gautrain will mark out areas of the station to demarcate where to stand and queue appropriately, based on one passenger per square metre.
The Gautrain seating arrangement will consist alternate seats to allow regulated spacing and control based on average one passenger per square metre.
Operating staff in completion of service, will operate from 5h00 to 12h00 and 15h00 with an appropriate peak hour service. The last trains will depart at 18h00 to clear the system by 19h00.
To allow for travelling of operating staff and completion of service, the Gautrain will operate from 05h00 to 12h00 and 15h00 to 20h00 with an appropriate peak hour service.
Maintenance staff will be permitted to move in and around the system during curfew-hours (22h00pm – 04h00). Maintenance vehicles will only be permitted to move around the system in these hours only.
PRASA will similarly adopt a gradual re-introduction of its services based on its capacity to manage crowds, implement effective social distancing and implement other mitigation measures that include cleaning and disinfection of surfaces, trains and stations.
PRASA will undertake the compulsory testing of the rolling stock during the Level 4 period and only resume with a limited service once the National Coronavirus Command Council declares the risk-adjustment to Level 3, with the return of the Pienaarspoort line in Tshwane and the Southern line in Cape Town.
There will be no immediate resumption of Metrorail commuter services until we have satisfied ourselves that the risk of transmission is manageable on a corridor by corridor basis.
Long distance trains are still prohibited in Level 4.
Cross-Border Road Transport
Cross-Border road passenger movement remains prohibited. Only essential cargo will be allowed to move across our land borders. The definition of essential cargo has been broadened in the Level 4 Regulations published on 29 April 2020. The SADC Protocol on COVID-19 is applicable. It also details the goods that should to be allowed by member states to move across land borders.
Public Transport (see Gazette 43348 for amendments)
As per Gazette 43348 of 22 May
(a) Intra-provincial, metropolitan areas and districts public transport is permitted to operate.
(b) The transporation of persons rendering essential or permitted services must be in line with the operating shifts or work time schedules as determined by the responsible head of operations, Manager or Head of Department of an institution or a person with responsible authority within such institution; and
(c) The use of transport for food delivery services is permitted.'
With the country moving to Level 4 and more people returning to work, we have revised the operating hours for all road-based public transport modes.
All road-based public transport services are permitted to operate from 05h00 until 19h00, with a grace period of 1 hour in the afternoon to complete their trips and drop off passengers. This includes minibus-taxis, buses, metered taxis, e-hailing services, charter and shuttle services.
No public transport is allowed on the road between 20h00 and 05h00. Sanitisation principles currently applicable to public transport vehicles and facilities remain.
No person is allowed to use of public transport who is not wearing a face mask. We call on the pubic to ensure strict adherence to this requirement by obtaining their own face masks in line with the guidance given by Minister Dlamini-Zuma. While government may provide limited assistance in ensuring availability of masks, the onus rests on each individual to ensure that they do not leave home without a mask.
Loading capacity for minibus-taxis remains at 70% of licensed passengers, with social distancing and other mitigating measures remaining in place.
eHailing and Metered Taxis
Loading capacity for metered taxis and e-hailing services remains at 50%. A 5-seater vehicle is permitted to carry a maximum of 2 passengers and a driver.
Buses will be allowed to transport 70% passengers of their licensed loading capacity, with requisite social distancing, wearing of masks by all passenger and other mitigating measures.
Shuttle and Chauffeur Services
Shuttle and Chauffeur services will be subject to the same rules as other road-based public transport modes. Both the Shuttle and Chauffeur services will only be permitted for transportation of people undertaking essential work and those economic sectors allowed to return back to work under level 4. Loading capacity of 50% is equally applicable to these services.
Charter services will be subject to the same rules as other road-based public transport modes. This service is only be permitted for transportation of people undertaking essential work. Loading capacity of 50% is equally applicable to these services.
A number of companies, particularly in the mining sector, work 3 shifts, resulting in employees finishing work outside the permitted public transport operating hours.
These companies may make use of charter services. Operators of vehicles undertaking this service must be identifiable as such for purposes of law enforcement.
Delivery Services such as Uber Eats, Mr Delivery and any other similar service are permitted to operate between 09h00 and 19h00 only for delivery of food.
Courier Services are permitted to operate in the delivery of any goods permitted for sale in the Level 4 Regulations.
It should however be noted that the wholesale sector has been allowed to return back to service and amongst the sub-sectors allowed to trade is the e-Commerce that includes on-line shopping for items such as personal ICT equipment and other goods. This sector is reliant on the Courier services to deliver its goods to customers at their homes.
Travel Between Provinces, Metros and Districts
Travel between Provinces, Metropolitan areas and Districts is prohibited, with concessions made for workers who have to commute to and from work on a daily basis, attendance of funerals and transportation of mortal remains.
The Minister of COGTA has published Regulations allowing a once-off special dispensation for persons who were not at their places of residence before the lockdown period and who could not travel between Provinces, Metropolitan and District areas during the lockdown, to return to their homes. Those people are now permitted to travel between 1 May 2020 and 7 May 2020 in line with the COGTA Regulations.
Long distance bus and taxi operators are allowed to undertake long distance travel during this window period. Full compliance with the 70% passenger capacity, wearing of masks by all passengers and sanitisation of vehicles at the completion of each journey is a mandatory requirement.
Driving schools will be permitted to resume their activities subject to effective social distancing and sanitizing measures. Both the instructor and the learner must wear face masks at all times.
Servicing of vehicles of personnel performing emergency services is permitted under Level 4. This also includes the importation of spares for service purposes and for manufacturing. Emergency spares are also allowed to be on sale.
Repairs and fitments to vehicles utilized for emergency and essential services is permitted.
Emergency Services & Roadside Assistance
The Emergency services and roadside services for all is allowed. This also includes towing services and support with breakdown of vehicles.
Drivers’ Licence Testing Centres and Vehicle Testing Centres
Drivers’ Licence Testing Centres and Vehicle Testing Centres will gradually re-open for essential service workers to renew their drivers’ and vehicle licenses.
The opening of the Driver's Licence Testing Centres (DLTCs) will be staggered once inspection and verification of the state of readiness is done on all of them. The Metro based DLTCs will be opened first from 1 June 2020.
We will issue Directions to limit the daily numbers of people that can be attended to, while restricting bookings to online platforms.
The nation-wide lockdown will be enacted in terms of the Disaster Management Act and will entail the following:
- From midnight on Thursday 26 March until the end of April all South Africans will have to stay at home.
- The categories of people who will be exempted from this lockdown are the following: health workers in the public and private sectors, emergency personnel, those in security services – such as the police, traffic officers, military medical personnel, soldiers – and other persons necessary for our response to the pandemic.
It will also include those involved in the production, distribution and supply of food and basic goods, essential banking services, the maintenance of power, water and telecommunications services, laboratory services, and the provision of medical and hygiene products. A full list of essential personnel will be published.
- Individuals will not be allowed to leave their homes except under strictly controlled circumstances, such as to seek medical care, buy food, medicine and other supplies or collect a social grant.
- Temporary shelters that meet the necessary hygiene standards will be identified for homeless people. Sites are also being identified for quarantine and self-isolation for people who cannot self-isolate at home.
- All shops and businesses will be closed, except for pharmacies, laboratories, banks, essential financial and payment services, including the JSE, supermarkets, petrol stations and health care providers.
Ceasing of passenger and commuter Rail Operations (Gazette 43159 of 26 March 2020)
(1) All long- distance rail services, both public and private, must stop operations for the duration of the lockdown.
(2) Services of Shosholoza Meyl, Premier Class and Blue Train operated by PRASA and Transnet have been suspended .
(3) The private rail operators such as Rovos Rail must cease operation.
(4) All commuter rail services must stop operations for the duration of the lockdown including all Metrorail and Gautrain.
rohibition of International and Domestic Flights (Gazette 43189 of 31 March 2020)
(1) All international and domestic passenger flights are prohibited irrespective of the risk category of the country of origin except those flights especially authorised by the Minister of Transport for the evacuation of South African Nationals in foreign countries.
Repatriation (Gazette 43189 of 31 March 2020)
(2) (a) Repatriation of foreign national from South Africa back to their respective countries is allowed provided the following conditions are adhered to:
(i) Foreign Countries must charter their aircraft to South Africa without passengers except with the crew.
(ii) The crew is not be allowed to disembark.
Evacuation (Gazette 43189 of 31 March 2020)
(3) (a) Evacuation of South African citizens who desires to come back home is allowed provided:
(i) He or she has a fully paid return flight ticket;
(ii) On arrival they will be subjected to mandatory quarantine for a period of up to 21 days; and
(iii) The crew shall be allowed to disembark subject to mandatory quarantine laws as may be applicable.
(4) (a) The following technical flights are allowed:
(i) Medical evacuation flights;
(ii) Aircraft in a state of emergency;
(iv) Technical landings for refuelling ;
(v) Aircraft operations related to humanitarian aid, relief flights and other safety related operations.
(b) Medical evacuation flights should not carry passengers except, patients and crew that will upon landing shall be subjected to mandatory quarantine laws as may be applicable.
(c) Technical landing flights are allowed on condition that no passenger may disembark.
(5) The following Airports should have standby operational staff who will receive aircraft that are in distress.
(i) Port Elizabeth;
(ii) Bram Fischer;
(v) Kruger Mpumalanga.
(6) Disembarkation of Flight Cargo Crew is permitted on condition that it will be subjected Quarantine laws applicable in South Africa.
(1) The following International Airports Designated as Ports of Entry have Port Health capability and are ready to handle air cargo and services:
(a) O.R Tambo;
(b) King Shaka;
(e) Bram Fischer;
(f) Kruger Mpumalanga;
(g) Pilanesberg; and
(h) Port Elizabeth; and
(i) Cape Town.
(2) Lanseria International Airport must not allow the landings and departures of any international flights for the duration of the lockdown.
(1) The loading and off -loading of air cargo in and out of International Airports Designated as Ports of Entry is permitted.
(2) (a) Air cargo from medium to high risk countries must be sanitised immediately after being off- loaded from the aircraft.
(b) Sanitisation of cargo must be applied to air cargo carried by any South African aircraft coming from medium to high risk countries.
Embarkation and disembarkation of foreign nationals at international airports designated as Ports of Entry (Gazette 43105 of 18 March 2020)
(1) Crew from high risk countries shall be subjected to medical screening and quarantined up to 21 days.
(2) Disembarkation of foreign nationals from high risk countries is suspended on all airports until further notice.
(3) Embarkation and disembarkation is permissible under the following circumstances: -
(a) disembarkation of a returning South African citizen and permanent residents.
(b) embarkation of a departing foreign national.
(c) disembarkation of a declared medical emergency of foreign nationals must be approved by the Port Health Services.
(4) South African citizens and permanent residents are advised to refrain from all use of air travel until further notice.
(5) The loading and off -loading of cargo in and out of airports is permitted.
Charter Operators (Gazette 43105 of 18 March 2020)
(1) All Charter Operators for the duration of this regulations, are required to operate in the International Airports that have the Ports Health capability and be subjected to Health assessment.
(2) The following International Airports have the necessary capacity and will be ready to handle the Charter flights:
a) O R Tambo
c) King Shaka
f) Bram Fischer
g) Kruger Mpumalanga
i) Port Elizabeth; and
i) Cape Town
Countries impacted by South Africa's travel restrictions. (Gazette 43105 of 18 March 2020)
(1) South Africa has restriction access to foreign nationals and travellers from (High Risk Countries)
e) South Korea
g) United Kingdom
h) United States of America
(2) South Africa has imposed extra screening measures on people from places such as: (Medium Risk)
a) Hong Kong
This list is subject to change in line with risk rating of World Health Organization (WHO).
Provision of improved access and hygiene, disinfection control on all public transport facilities. (Gazette 43157, 26 March 2020)
All owners of public transport facilities must on regular intervals provide adequate sanitizers or other hygiene dispenser for washing of hands and disinfection equipment for users of public transport services for the duration of the directions.
Embarkation of public transport passengers in the public transport vehicles (Gazette 43157, 26 March 2020)
(1) All operators must ensure that public transport vehicles are sanitized before picking up and after dropping off passengers.
(2) Operators must ensure that all public transport vehicles door and window handles, arm -rest and hand rails are sanitized before picking up and dropping off passengers.
(3) Operators must ensure that all public transport vehicles are clean and tidy.
(4) All public transport operators must provide disinfection information materials and procedures.
(5) All drivers must wear a mask.
(6) Any marshal who interacts with members of the public in public transport facility should wear a mask.
(7) The sanitisers used to sanitise all public transport vehicles must have a minimum of 60% alcohol content.
(1) All long distance and inter-provincial services are prohibited for the duration of the lockdown.
(2) Transportation of passengers by buses is prohibited except when the bus is used for purposes of fearing passengers rendering essential services.
(3) Public Transport permitted to ferry essential services workers will operate from 05h00 to 10h00 and from 16h00 to 20h00.
(4) Buses and taxis shall be permitted to operate from 05h00 until 20h00 in order to cater the transportation needs of South Africans most vulnerable which is effective from 30 March 2020 until 03 April 2020
(5) Notwithstanding the provisions of direction (3), public transport is provided with the following grace periods for picking up and dropping off, of passengers:
(a) Minibuses and Midibuses Public Transport is permitted to proceed to a pickup point an hour before the operating times, which is from 05h00 to 10h00 without loading passengers; and
(b) Minibuses and Midibuses Public Transport is permitted to proceed to drop off points an hour after the drop off time of 10h00 which would be 11h00.
(c) Minibuses and Midibuses Public Transport is permitted to proceed to a pick-up point without loading passengers at 15h00 in order to start picking up at 16h00 to 20h00 to finish dropping off passengers at 21h00.
6) (a) During the lock -down period and unless determined by the Minister of Transport, private institutions or companies may make arrangements for the transportation of their workers who are rendering essentials services as listed in Annexure B of Disaster Management Act 2002, Amendment Regulations issues in terms of Section 27 (2) in line with the operating shifts, work time schedules as determined by the responsible head of operations, Manager, Head of the Department or a person with responsible authority within such institution; and
(b) The operating shifts or work schedules or time table should be stamped and signed by such person with authority as contemplated in direction 6(6) (a) above."
Prohibition of standing in a public transport vehicle (Gazette 43157, 26 March 2020)
(1) No person is allowed to stand in a public transport vehicle.
Loading capacity of road public transport (sedan, minibus, midibus) (As amended by Gazette 43212 of 7 April 2020)
(1) A public transport sedan is limited to carrying not more than 50% of its permissible passenger carrying capacity.
(2) During the lockdown period, the following public transport vehicles must not carry more than 70% of their maximum licensed passenger seating capacity as follows:
(a) A minibus licensed to carry 10 passengers, is limited to carry a maximum of 7 passengers;
(b) a minibus licensed to carry 15 passengers, is limited to carry the maximum of 10 passengers; and
(c) a midibus licensed to carry a maximum of 22 passengers, is limited to carry a maximum of 15 passengers.
(3) All public transport operators must put measures in place to adhere to social distancing to curb the spread of COVID -19.
Buses and Taxis
Effective from 30 March 2020 until Friday, 3 April 2020, buses and taxis will be permitted to operate from 05:00 until 20:00 in order to cater to the transportation needs of society’s most vulnerable. (https://www.gov.za/speeches/minister-fikile-mbalula-relaxas-hours-public-transport-vehicles-grant-beneficiaries-29-mar)
Cross-Border Road Transport
Prohibition to provide cross -border road transport (Gazette 43158 of 26 March 2020)
(1) Despite any permit issued in terms of the Act, no person may provide cross -border Road Passenger transport for the duration of lockdown.
(2) Cross -Border freight movement will continue to and from our neighbouring countries.
Prohibition on cruise ships calling at any of the sea ports (Gazette 43163 of 26 March 2020)
(1) No crew changes are permitted in all commercial ports until further notice.
(2) Cruise ships are prohibited from calling at any of the sea ports except the disembarkation of a returning South African crew and a permanent resident.
(3) South African citizens and permanent residents are advised to refrain from use of this form of travel until further notice.
(4) The loading and off -loading of cargo in and out of commercial ports is permitted.
Embarkation and disembarkation of persons at a South African sea port (Gazette 43103 of 18 March 2020)
(1) No passengers or crew changes are permitted in the designated ports until further notice.
(2) Embarkation and disembarkation of passengers are suspended on all sea ports until further notice unless under the following circumstances: -
(a) disembarkation of a returning South African citizen and a permanent resident.
(b) embarkation of a departing foreign national.
(c) emergency medical evacuation shall be managed utilising the existing Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre protocols.
(3) South African citizens and permanent residents are advised to refrain from use of this form of travel until further notice.
(4). The loading and off-loading of cargo in and out of all sea ports is permitted.
Prohibition of Passenger Vessels visiting South African Sea Ports (Gazette 43211 of 7 April 2020)
(1) All passenger vessels are prohibited from disembarking any passengers or crew at any of South African sea ports.
(2) Passenger vessels will be allowed to call at any of South African sea ports only for the following purposes:
(a) Disembarking South African crew;
(b) Disembarking returning South African citizens and holders of permanent resident permit;
(c) Replenishing fuel, stores and provisions.
(3) The crew shall be allowed to disembark subject to mandatory quarantine laws as may be applicable.
(4) All other cargo vessels will be allowed into all the sea ports for purposes of cargo works, replenishing fuel and provisions.
Repatriation of South African Seafarers (Gazette 43211 of 7 April 2020)
(5) (a) Repatriation of South African seafarers:
(i) South African seafarers returning to South Africa via any of the sea ports will be allowed to disembark;
(ii) South African seafarers returning to South Africa via any means other than a ship calling at a sea ports will be subjected to the provisions of the applicable laws that govern the respective mode of transportation they use; and
(iii) All returning seafarers will be subjected to a quarantine period of up to 21 days as well as any measures put in place to prevent the spread of the virus.
Evacuation (Gazette 43211 of 7 April 2020)
6) (a) Evacuation of seafarers and passengers on board all ships along the South African coastline will be allowed in terms of Search and Rescue as well as the
Merchant Shipping Act, 1957 (Act No. 57 of 1957) and subject to the following:
(i) The evacuation must comply with the provisions of Medical Evacuations as contained in the South African Maritime and Aeronautical Search and Rescue Act, 2002 (Act No. 44 of 2002) ;
(ii) The evacuation to be carried out in terms of the approved Standard Operating Procedures for evacuation as contained in the Maritime Rescue Coordination Center Manual obtainable from the South African Maritime Safety Authority website; and
(iii) All evacuated patients will be subjected to mandatory quarantine for a period of up to 21 days.
(7) (a) The following ships are allowed:
(í) Cargo working ships;
(ii) Passenger vessels allowed only for purposes of disembarking SA crew and returning SA citizens;
(iii) Ships calling for refuelling and supplies.
(8) The following sea ports are open for purposes of handling cargo, refuelling and ship supplies:
(i) Richards Bay;
(iii) East London;
(y) Port Elizabeth;
(vii) Cape Town;
(viii) Saldanha Bay.