You can go to jail for visiting Gauteng, unless you’re there for these reasons
- Leisure travel to and from Gauteng, South Africa’s Covid-19 epicentre, is banned under Adjusted Alert Level 4 lockdown.
- Work-related travel is allowed but employees need a permit signed by their employers.
- Travelling to attend a funeral is also exempt but needs to be authorised by a police station commander or magistrate’s court.
- People caught travelling in and out of Gauteng without permission face fines and jail time.
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South Africa’s newly introduced Adjusted Alert Level 4 lockdown, imposed to curb the third wave of Covid-19 infections, prohibits leisure travel to and from Gauteng. Travellers who move in and out of the province without permission could face fines and even jail time.
South Africa will endure a harsher level of lockdown for at least two weeks, as the public health response grapples with a surge in Covid-19 infections driven by the highly transmissible Delta variant.
The country has recorded more than 180,000 new cases in the past 14 days, with Gauteng accounting for more than 60% of this third wave. In response to this resurgence, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Sunday that South Africa would be subjected to Adjusted Alert Level 4 restrictions which limit social gatherings, movement of persons and prohibit the sale of alcohol.
Travel regulations, which have been a key focus of the Disaster Management Act since lockdown was first introduced back in March 2020, remain largely unchanged on a national level. But movement to and from Gauteng is heavily restricted, with the recently gazetted regulations officially banning leisure travel in and out of the province.
“Because of the burden of infections in Gauteng, travel in and out of the province for leisure purposes will be prohibited,” explained Ramaphosa during a national address on Sunday evening.
“This does not include work, business or commercial travel, transit through airports or for the transport of goods.”
People travelling for work are allowed to move in and out of Gauteng. These travellers are required to have a “permit to provide a service” which must be signed by an employer. At least one airline, Lift, requires all business travellers to provide a letter – with a company letterhead – stating that the movement is work-related when making a booking.
Travellers-in-transit will also be allowed to pass through Gauteng. Pupils who need to travel interprovincially to reach their schools will be allowed to commute in and out of Gauteng.
Travel for the purpose of moving to a new residence is allowed but will need to be accompanied by a sworn affidavit signed at a magistrate’s court or police station. The same applies to people travelling to provide care for an immediate family member or obtaining medical treatment.
Although social gatherings have been banned, funerals are still permitted but the number of people in attendance may not exceed 50. Similarly, travel to and from Gauteng for the purpose of attending a funeral is allowed. These travellers must also obtain a permit which is signed by a police station commander or magistrate’s court.
People needing to return home – either from or to Gauteng – will be permitted to travel on a “once-off” basis.
People who are caught travelling to and from Gauteng for any other purpose may face a fine or time in jail not exceeding six months or both, according to the newly gazetted regulations.
(Compiled by Luke Daniel)
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