Those working at borders not performing due diligence – EFF

Fighters say passports of Japanese nationals were clearly stamped ‘denied’ but they still managed to enter SA

EFF statement on Japanese nationals who entered South Africa illegally

22 March 2020

The EFF has through its national leadership and ground forces been tracking a group of Japanese nationals attempting to enter South Africa illegally. The group is possibly part of the passengers on one of the 14 aircrafts which were turned back on the 20th of March 2020 at O.R Tambo International Airport, after South African citizens had disembarked. This was due to the aircraft carrying passengers that are not South African. In light of the spike in the rates of the Corona Virus (COVID-19) infections across the world, no one is allowed entry into South Africa except for South African citizens. As a result, these foreign nationals were denied entry. This was done in accordance with the President's declaration of travel bans and revoking of VISAS for travel into the country.

According to the President's declaration of a National Disaster on the 15th of March 2020, there will only be trade of essential goods and services between South Africa and other nations, with only South African citizens being allowed entry into the country.

After a tip off, the EFF activated the relevant forces to track these individuals who subsequently travelled to Mozambique, where they disembarked and made their way to South Africa. There are 4 buses carrying these foreign nationals, these buses entered through Lebombo border gate in Mpumalanga Early this morning. The EFF alerted the police in Mpumalanga, the South African Police Services (SAPS) responded with the immediacy that the matter deserved. The SAPS and together with the EFF tracked down the buses.

Subsequently these buses were stopped at Machadodorp Toll gate heading towards Gauteng through the N4. The destination or intentions of these individuals in the country are currently unclear and unknown as yet.

The EFF wishes to advise the President, the Minister of Health, Minister of Home Affairs, Minister of Trade and Industry, Minister of Transport and Minister of Defense the following:

- Ensure there are measures are in place to control access at the border during this pandemic

- Ensure that there are measures taken to ensure that flights or other modes of transport that are turned back at our points of entry return to their countries of origin should they carry individuals who do not have residency in South Africa

- Ensure that there are screening measures in place at our borders and entry points besides airports and provide us of statistics in that regard

- Put in place consequence management for nations that continue trade with South Africa in bad faith, by sending personnel or envoys while we have travel bans in place

- Create measures to ensure industry and trade is regulated to protect the health interests of South Africa which must be prioritized above profit

We are extremely alarmed by this situation and hope that in future we do not find the health of our citizens compromised in this manner. Government must ensure that there are harsh consequences for those who breach our set regulations during this difficult time.

Furthermore, it seems that those who are working at our border posts are not performing their due diligence when it comes to those who enter our country. The passports of these Japanese nationals were clearly stamped "denied" to indicate denial of entry into the country yet they managed to enter South Africa. The EFF has warned of corruption in this difficult time and it seems there are elements of it rearing its ugly head at the risk of our national interests.

We call for the immediate detainment of those who work at the Lebombo Border Post in Mpumalanga and for being complicit in jeopardizing national security.

The Japanese Nationals must be sent back to Mozambique where they landed immediately.

The EFF will continue to monitor this situation as it develops. We will continue to perform our duty as patriots by instructing the continued monitoring of all national threats by our structures across the country and through our ground forces.

Issued by Vuyani Pambo, National Spokesperson, EFF, 22 March 2020