The Kosi Bay / Ponta do Ouro border, which links South Africa to Mozambique, has been closed and locals are already feeling the impact.

It is part of the two-thirds of border posts on land, and seaports that are currently not allowing the transit of people because of coronavirus.

The local community have mixed feelings about this, as they rely heavily on tourism to sustain their livelihoods.

SABC News Jayed-Leigh Paulse has been tracking the situation at one of the borders between South Africa and Swaziland:

The small coastal town, that lies on the border between South Africa and Mozambique, relies on tourism between the two countries.

The closure of the border is a huge concern to locals. Engozini Business Owner, Thoko Ngubane says: “I know about the Kosi border being closed because of the virus, but the border being closed is affecting livelihood.”

Hawkers, who sell vegetables, fruit and herbs at Kosi Bay border in Manguzi are concerned that they do not have enough information on the virus.

“I don’t have enough information about the virus but I hear it’s a killer disease. I heard you have to wash hands even when you working with money because you can get infected by sharing notes,” one the hawker commented.

Economic impact

The Municipality is also concerned about the economic impact the closure of the border will have on the small town.

Umhlabuyalingana Mayor Nkululeko Mthethwa says: “The town relies on tourism and many of the residents are hawkers. Mozambican nationals come and buy goods in the country which boosts the local GDP but with the border being closed it’s going to affect them all.”

Although the Kosi Bay/Ponto de Ouro border is closed, the Golela border near Eswatini remains open with authorities screening travellers for the COVID-19 virus.

So far the number of COVID-19 cases in South Africa has risen to 116, with no deaths reported.

In the video below, President Ramaphosa  announces Parliament’s decision to suspend its business:

Parliament’s move is in response to the State of National Disaster declared by President Cyril Ramaphosa over the COVID-19 pandemic on Sunday.

The National Assembly held its last sitting on Wednesday morning, while National Council of Provinces (NCOP) will follow suit on Thursday.

President Ramaphosa announced the prohibition of any gathering of more than 100 people, among other things.

Although authorities say the measures taken by cabinet so far are enough to deal with the outbreak, both the ministers of health and justice have not ruled out the possibility of a state of emergency should the need arise.

According to the Constitution, such a declaration may be effective only for no more than 21 days from the date of the declaration unless the National Assembly resolves to extend the declaration.

The Assembly may extend a declaration of the state of emergency for no more than three months at a time and this must be done after a debate in the house.