South Africa's coronavirus red list
South Africa's red-listed countries, from which leisure travellers are not welcome. (Business Insider South Africa)
  • South Africa has special rules for visiting business people, starting with them not being subject to SA's red list.
  • They have also been cleared to try to argue their case on arrival, if they arrive from a red-listed country without the right paperwork.
  • For those from neighbouring countries who need multiple entry into SA, the negative PCR test that must be no more than 72 hours old at the time of arrival will be accepted for two weeks afterwards.
  • No coronavirus test is required for those just passing through.
  • Here's what we know about the details of South Africa's travel rules for incoming businesspeople.
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Business people seeking entry into South Africa will get special treatment at borders, home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi has confirmed, beyond not being subjected to South Africa's red list.

That list, of countries from which leisure travellers are not welcome, has never applied to those travelling for business, on the basis that SA needs all the economic activity it can get. Policymakers seem intent to maintain that stance, so that South Africa's borders will remain open to those travelling on business regardless of how severe the coronavirus pandemic gets in their country of origin.

Businesspeople who travel from or via high-risk countries on the red list are supposed to apply for entry into SA before they depart – but if they don't, they'll be able to beg for entry when reaching the border.

"Immigration officers have been instructed to apply the requirements with a measure of flexibility in order to allow applications for business travel to be lodged at the ports of entry if and when necessary and await the outcome before entry into the Republic is allowed," said Motsoaledi in a statement.

That exception is expected to be useful mostly for those travelling by road – because anyone who fails to convince the government their travel is for business would be turned around. For flyers, the onus would be on the airline who let the passenger onto their plane in the first place to remove that person from South Africa.

Business travellers from neighbouring countries will also get special treatment when it comes to testing. Every person who enters SA must, on arrival, present a negative coronavirus test no more than 72 hours old. But for businesspeople from the 15 other Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries, those test certificates will be considered valid for 14 days afterwards.

That means those who need to cross the border regularly will have multiple entry as long as they meet the 72-hour requirement the first time they enter, Motsoaledi's department confirmed to Business Insider South Africa.

The department of home affairs also confirmed that:

  • Travellers who transit through South Africa do not need to produce a negative coronavirus test in order to pass through.
  • The airline doesn't matter, when it comes to the red list, only the country from which a tourist is coming, or through which they have passed.
  • The intention remains to update the red list every two weeks.

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