Foreign nationals in South Africa won’t be penalised for expired visas during the lockdown.

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has assured foreign nationals whose visas and permits will expire during the lockdown that they would not be penalised.

Of the 75 land, sea and airports around the country, 35 were shut down last week in late March 2020. Motsoaledi said no people would be allowed in or out of the country, but exceptions will be made for medical reasons.

“We are aware of many nationals in neighbouring countries who make use of our health services, they will make special arrangements with home affairs. The remaining 18 border posts will allow goods and essential services but will be totally closed to people.

Motsoaledi has assured foreign nationals who were afraid they would be penalised and declared undesirable if their visas expired during the lockdown that they can relax.

“We don’t expect people to apply for extension during the lockdown, we will understand, and we will deal with the matter after 21 days.”

The deadline to apply for renewal of the Lesotho Special Permit was set for the end of March but it has now been extended to the end of June.

This article was first published on on 26 March 2020.