Despite a total ban on international travel during the harder stages of lockdown, government is being asked to open up their borders with Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, eSwatini, Lesotho and Mozambique this week. It’s believed that thousands of distressed citizens have no other way of re-entering South Africa.

Why government are being asked to open land borders

On Wednesday, three government departments, International Relations and Co-operation, Health and Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, were served urgent court papers by AfriForum to force the ministries into facilitating the return of citizens – roughly 3 000 of them – from across our land borders.

Now the DA have also joined the fight. They want to know if the government will indeed lift restrictions, providing that all entrants to the country are given a proper medical screening. Should the government fail to respond to the submissions on Friday, the matter will be heard in court on Wednesday 17 June.

“Urgent action needed”, DA state

Madeleine Hickin is an MP for the DA, and she’s issued a statement on Friday which urges ministers to help their ‘stranded citizens’. According to Hickin, a decision needs to be made urgently as many families want to get their children back in school for the 8 June reopening date:

“We are calling for urgent clarity regarding the fate of hundreds of learners and students trapped along all of SA’s inland borders with neighbouring countries as most schools across the country will open soon. Families stuck in Mozambique & Eswatini anxiously await clarity on how to get their kids to school on Monday.”

“Eswatini, for example, has in excess of 200 people stranded. For many learners and students who went to visit friends for the holidays before lockdown started, the short summer holiday has turned into a veritable nightmare as repatriation efforts to get them home have come to naught.”

Madeleine Hickin, DA MP

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Presh JM Reporter

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