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Lesotho, SA in talks over Covid-19 travel requirements


Limpho Sello

THE Lesotho and the South African governments are in talks to determine the documents that travellers from either of the two countries require to cross the borders, Foreign Affairs and International Relations minister, ‘Matsepo Ramakoae has said.

Ms Ramakoae told the Sunday Express on Friday that the South African government has given them conflicting messages about the travel requirements where priority is a valid Covid-19 certificate.

Ms Ramakoae said following the issuance of the conflicting messages by South Africa, Basotho who had to cross to South Africa for various reasons were turned away from the South African side.

Among the messages that have been circulating is that travellers only needed to be screened to cross into South Africa since Lesotho was one of the countries that are least affected by Covid-19. However, the South African immigration officials turned away hordes of travellers demanding a valid Covid-19 clearance certificate.

Ms Ramakoae said following the confusion, the governments were in talks but added that travellers must ensure that they acquire Covid-19 certificates.

“To cross into South Africa, travellers must follow the normal procedure of crossing the borders but in addition they should have Covid-19 certificates,” Ms Ramakoae said.

“Depending on the reason for their trip, they can either acquire the certificates at the Ministry of Health facilities or at certified private facilities at their own cost.”

Disaster Management Authority (DMA) chief executive officer (CEO) Thabo Khasipe said they would soon announce the official requirements once they have finished their engagement with the South African government.

On Friday, local travellers who had hoped to travel to South Africa were left fuming after being turned away. Frequent travellers like transporters said they were asked to present Covid-19 clearance certificates. However, they had to wait long hours to get their results.

It had also been said that Basotho returning from South Africa would be asked for Covid-19 clearance certificates or would be quarantined. However, at the Maseru border the Sunday Express observed that some travellers from South Africa who did not have the clearance certificates had their specimens taken and ordered to go home and await their results, which would be released in 14 days.

Two male travellers who arrived in the country from Port Elizabeth via the Maseru border yesterday afternoon said they had their specimens taken and were instructed to go home and wait for their results. They were told that their results would be ready in 14 days.

“The officials asked us to produce our Covid-19 certificates and we told them that we did not have them. They took our specimens and told us to go home and expect our results after 14 days.

“We were told to stay safe at our respective homes,” one of the travellers said.




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