Slight changes under Level 3 announced by transport sector

Transport Minister, Fikile Mbalula on Thursday morning laid out any possible changes within the sector after the country was moved from lockdown Level 1 to an adjusted Level 3 strategy. 

Due to the adjusted strategy, certain additional requirements have been made for travellers. 

Times have also changed due to the 9pm to 6am curfew, which will directly impact airline schedules. 

Here are some notable changes addressed by Mbalula: 

Vehicle licences 

To ease the pressure on motorists and licensing departments, the validity of learner’s and driver’s licenses, vehicle licences, professional driving permits, operating licences and accreditation certificates for tourist services have been extended. 

Drivers whose licences expire between 26 March and 31 December, and up to 28 February will have until 31 August 2021 to renew their documentation. 

Flight schedules and traveller documents 

Due to adjusted curfew hours, airline schedules will be directly affected. 

The South African Civil Aviation Authority has thus issued a notice to airmen advising all airlines to consider the adjusted curfew, and to revise their schedules accordingly. This applies for both domestic and international flights. 

International travellers must provide a valid polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test certificate, with a test having had to be done no more than 72 hours before the date of travel. The test result must be negative, and the testing had to have been done by an accredited laboratory. 

Mbalula emphasised that authorities reserve the right to verify the authenticity of any PCR or Covid-19 test certificate. 

Public transport

A proposal has been tabled to allow long-distance buses and taxis to complete their journeys in transporting travellers back to their places of work during the first weeks of January. However, these journeys must also comply with the adjusted curfew hours. 

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Apart from this, no additional changes have been made to the public transport sector. A 70% loading capacity for long-distance vehicles still applies, and passengers and drivers are still required to observe protocols, including wearing of masks. 

Sectors with slight to no changes 

The maritime sector will not have to adhere to any changes regarding regulating the movement of ships. 

Bans on passenger vessels and cruise liners are still in place. The only vessels allowed to bring cargo into the country are those that have access to ports in the country. 

Liquor may be transported to ports for export purposes only.

Transporting of liquor from manufacturing plants to storage facilities is also permitted, provided the cargo is not sold, dispensed or distributed to customers. This is due to the reinstated ban on the public consumption of alcohol, and alcohol sales. 

Industrial alcohol for cleaning and personal protective purposes is still permitted. 

The only change affecting cross-border road transportation is the reopening of the Kosi Bay port of entry on 1 January 2021. The port has been closed since Level 5 lockdown was practiced in March. 

Travellers are urged to adhere to hygiene protocols, especially those travelling from or to Covid-19 hotspot areas.

An expected uptick in cases due to the festive season is expected, and citizens must closely monitor their health symptoms, and seek medical attention while self-isolating urgently should they feel unwell, or if they came into contact with people who tested positive for Covid-19.

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