by Charmaine Ngatjiheue
Health ministry deputy executive director Petronella Masabane says it is a long-standing arrangement for Angolan citizens to seek medical treatment in Namibia, especially for chronic medication.
She said this at the Covid-19 communication centre in Windhoek on Tuesday, while giving clarity on Angolan nationals seeking medical care in Namibia.
She said this arrangement remains in place, with Angolans making use of designated border posts to enter Namibia, but noted that the Namibia-Angola border is still being crossed at non-official border points as well.
“We however urge people to enter our country through the borders gazetted so they can follow the procedures set in place. We make exceptions for emergency cases. In these peculiar circumstances we ensure that the Angolan nationals seeking medical help do not mix with locals to prevent any spread of the disease [Covid-19],” she said.
Masabane added that the two countries’ governments signed an agreement that benefits both states. She said the arrangement says should there be a need in terms of compensation, then reference would be made to the agreement signed.
“Should people along the border not get treatment and interact with Namibians at the border, diseases can be spread and we may not be able to control disease outbreak. If Namibians find themselves in Angola, the provisions of the [agreement] come into force,” she said.
Masabane added that the Angolan nationals who come to Namibia for health reasons are subject to quarantine as well.
“I urge Angolan nationals to not cross on the Namibian side of the border if they are not critically ill. In fact, they should seek medical assistance from their country and not compromise their health seeking liberties,” she added.
Speaking at the same platform, the chief of immigration at the home affairs and immigration ministry, Nehemia Nghishekwa, reiterated that Namibia’s borders are closed for inbound and outbound travel unless travellers provide good reasons such as seeking medical attention.
“The ministry is part of the greater task force, which is part of the security cluster to control border entries. In our preparation, we have equipped our uniformed men with personal protective equipment to be able to safely perform their work,” he said.
Nghishekwa added that his ministry has set up regulations to assist Angolan nationals seeking medical assistance in Namibia.
“There are restrictions of entry into Namibia for non-Namibian citizens, in terms of sub-regulation one. We also have sub-regulation two, which speaks to those who come into Namibia for business purposes. Sub-regulation three allows the minister of immigration to allow certain people in the country, provided it is beneficial to the country in one way or another,” he said.
He further noted that Angolans who have received medical assistance and want to go back to their countries should contact their consulates for their exit out of Namibia to be facilitated.