Expect more roadblocks around Gauteng checking for travel permits – especially at toll plazas

  • Travelling to and from Gauteng requires a valid permit that is signed by an employer, court authority, or police station commander.
  • Leisure travel to the country’s Covid-19 epicentre is strictly forbidden.
  • Travellers caught without a permit can fined and even jailed for flouting the lockdown regulations.
  • Roadblocks in the province will become more common, with permit checks expected to be carried out at toll plazas and weighbridges.

The South African Police Service (SAPS) and provincial law enforcement authorities will deploy more roadblocks in Gauteng amid the ban on leisure travel under Adjusted Alert Level 4 Lockdown. These operations are expected to be common at toll plazas and weighbridges, where interprovincial motorists caught without proper travel permits risk being arrested.

Leisure travel to and from Gauteng is prohibited to contain the spread of Covid-19. Travellers can only lawfully leave or enter the province with relevant permits signed by employers, courts, or police station commanders.

Travelling for work, to attend a funeral, care for an immediate family member, and returning or relocating home are among the reasons which permit movement into and out of Gauteng. For each one of these exceptions, the South African government has made available associated permits which need to be authorised.

For workers, a company signature and stamp will suffice. All other permits are in the form of sworn affidavits that need to be signed at a magistrate’s court or police station.

“There will be roadblocks… because everybody that will be getting out of Gauteng or in will have a permit,” explained Police Minister Bheki Cele during a media briefing on Tuesday following the introduction of Adjusted Alert Level 4 lockdown the day prior.

“It’s well explained who can and who can’t travel, and police will stick to implementing the law as the law and regulation says at the present moment.”

Many of these roadblocks are expected to take place on national highways at strategic points where they link Gauteng with other provinces.

There are more than 50 toll plazas in South Africa, of which almost a quarter are in Gauteng along key national highways like the N1, N2, N4, and N17. These toll plazas are managed by the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral), with routes connecting Limpopo, the Free State, North West, and Mpumalanga to Gauteng.

Previous hard lockdown regulations in 2020 – at Levels 4 and 5 – prohibited interprovincial travel for the general public. This time, restrictions only apply to movement in and out of Gauteng. Concerns around the enforcement of these specific regulations have been tabled to both provincial and national authorities who say that methods used in 2020 will likely be repeated to ensure compliance.

“With the previous provincial lockdown scenarios, the relevant mandated authorities did make use of Sanral facilities [toll plazas and weighbridges] where these were conveniently located close to provincial borders,” a Sanral representative told Business Insider South Africa.

“Law enforcement authorities are legally mandated to have operations at points that are convenient for them. We do expect similar arrangements again.”

Sanral further explained that it was not mandated to check for specific travel permits at toll gates.

This article was previously published on Business Insider

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