South Africa has closed all of its 20 land border crossings until at least 15 February 2021 in a move meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

In an announcement on Monday night, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said crossings will only be permitted under limited circumstances but did not reveal when the new policy will be implemented. He said: To reduce congestion and the high risk of transmission, Cabinet has decided that the 20 land ports of entry that are currently open will be closed until the 15th of February for general entry and departure.

South Africa’s busiest points of entry, including Beitbridge, Lebombo, Maseru Bridge, Oshoek, Ficksburg, and Kopfontein will all be affected by the new directive.

The closure of the country’s borders follows weeks off congestion at the Beitbridge border with Zimbabwe and Lebombo post with Mozambique.

The bottlenecks, emanating from thousands of people travelling for the festive season and other returning to work, or escaping a hard lockdown in the case of Zimbabwe, have described as “super-spreader” events.

Travel into and out of South Africa through these border posts will be only be permitted for:

  • the transportation of fuel, cargo and goods
  • emergency medical attention, for a life-threatening condition
  • the return of South African nationals, permanent residents, or persons with other valid visas
  • travelling diplomats
  • the departure of foreign nationals
  • daily commuters from neighbouring countries who attend school in South Africa.