- An Italian man thought he had cracked the code on how to enter South Africa amid lockdown restrictions
- Chartering a flight from Harare, Zimbabwe, the man arrived in SA on Wednesday
- We hope it didn't cost him a small fortune, a few hours later he was booted out of the country
The Department of Transport has revealed that an Italian national, armed with a South African passport, tried his luck at entering the country on Wednesday.
This is despite the slew of coronavirus lockdown measures which closed points of entry into the country and grounded flights across South Africa.
In a statement explaining the incident in question, the department revealed that a private charter aircraft had landed at OR Tambo International Airport from Harare, Zimbabwe with the man in question on board:
"The flight was not cleared by the Department of Transport as required in terms of the current protocols in force during the lockdown. The passenger and the crew were held at the airport whilst the airport sought guidance on how to handle the flight."
Despite his best efforts to enter South Africa, come hell or high water, the Italian man was unceremoniously booted out of the country:
"A decision was made that the passenger would not be allowed to enter the country. The passenger initially refused to leave, but with the intervention of the South African Police Service, the flight left the South African airspace at 19h50, returning to Harare, Zimbabwe."
While this incident was amusing, it raised pertinent questions over the safety of SA's airspace during the lockdown. The department committed to exploring the measures in place:
"The Department, working closely with its aviation entities, is reviewing the applicable protocols to ensure that only flights with the necessary approval are allowed to enter the South African airspace. Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has called for a full investigation into the incident and consequence management should wrongdoing be found to have taken place."
Briefly.co.za reported that Mbalula has once again amended the regulations governing public transport, this time lowering the allowed passenger capacity to 70%.
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