West Africans flee Ebola, head to SA

2014-10-12 07:41

Cape Town - As the world panics over the Ebola outbreak, West Africans are reportedly fleeing their countries in a bid to outrun the virus - some even headed overland for South Africa.

According to the Sunday Independent, this could place South Africa at considerable risk.

Johannesburg-based members of the immigrant communities from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, told the newspaper that there is a considerable number of people attempting to reach SA, most trying to reach it overland - a 5 000km trek.

One man said he alone knew of at least five people who were on their way.

The newspaper reports that it would just take one carrier to change the situation in SA - particularly in a community that is largely housed in the densely populated city centre of Johannesburg - an ideal breeding ground for a communicable virus such as Ebola.

In addition, these often undocumented migrants also enter the country through the porous border at Beitbridge in northern Limpopo - an entry point that has no measures such as temperature radars in place to check visitors who could be carriers.

However, Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba and Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi have stated that although caution needs to be exercised, it cannot be done at the expense of fuelling xenophobia.

Motsoaledi said that he feels SA is too far away for most people to reach by land and if they were carrying the disease, the chances are they would not make it to the border alive, reported the newspaper.

Cases double every few weeks

Meanwhile, as reported by News24 on Saturday, the UN special envoy on Ebola says the number of cases is probably doubling every three to four weeks and the response needs to be 20 times greater than it was at the beginning of October.

David Nabarro warned the UN General Assembly on Friday that without the mass mobilisation of the world to support the affected countries in West Africa, "it will be impossible to get this disease quickly under control, and the world will have to live with the Ebola virus forever".

Nabarro said the UN knows what needs to be done to catch up to and overtake Ebola's rapid advance "and together we're going to do it".

"And our commitment to all of you is to achieve it within a matter of months - a few months," he said.

More than 4 000 people have died of the disease since the start of the outbreak, the worst to date.

SA ready

On Friday, News24 reported that although no cases of Ebola have been reported in South Africa, the country is ready for a possible outbreak.

"It's not that we are just starting now. We are just ramping up efforts to fight the virus that started in December," said Motsoaledi.

A ministerial advisory committee on Ebola had been appointed comprising private healthcare professionals.

Motsoaledi said Cabinet had approved a budget of R32.5m to support Ebola preparedness and response activities.

South Africa started in March and strengthened efforts at major airports, especially the Lanseria and OR Tambo International airports in Johannesburg.

"Private health care practitioners were also put on alert," he said.

They were given a 24-hour number to contact the National Institute of Communicable Diseases if they encountered a patient who possibly had Ebola.

Officials at ports of entry had been trained to deal with the disease.

Motsoaledi said the reason tests were being done on people coming to SA was to "settle the nerves" of the media who caused a frenzy.

"We are testing to settle your nerves. I hope we did settle those nerves," he said.

"It is not acceptable, ladies and gentlemen, to have a media frenzy whenever we have someone with a fever and who bleeds. Bleeding is part and parcel of what the medical personnel see every day."

Motsoaledi said he realised that "unnecessary panic" could be caused if people did not have the right information.

According to the latest toll from the World Health Organisation, the deadly virus has killed 3 439 people in West Africa since the start of the year.

  • Thami Ngwenya - 2014-10-12 07:46

    This is getting scary now...

      Buzzbar - 2014-10-12 08:17

      The govt will probably blame apartheid. West Africa already blames the west....

      sthembize.zulu - 2014-10-12 08:30

      It's only a matter of time before we are exposed

      Kevin Marsh - 2014-10-12 08:50

      Our government should stop them entering SA but will probably tell them to eat beet root.

      Punungwe - 2014-10-12 08:56

      Beitbridge is not the most porous border for SA. It is just the busiest. In terms of security it is one of the most secure in the world. It even has a natural security barrier in in the form of a river. The most porous borders for SA are the ones with Botswana and Namibia. They are not as widely used as Beitbridge. Zimbabwe is the transport hub of the region which is why it is so widely used. Beitbridge is simple the most convinient entry point. Besides if people can make it overland from West Africa to SA they will be having passports so they will not need to cross illegally into SA. They will come in legally and stay illegally.

      Wouter Willemse - 2014-10-12 09:30

      @Thami: It is only scary now? Did you sleep for the past few weeks, or did you not care when you where not involved in the 4000 deaths documented recently.

      Andrew Terr - 2014-10-12 09:34

      DSTV has adverts teaching people about this Ebola.Does SABC have any?

      Goeie Donner - 2014-10-12 09:48

      @Andrew Terr I find that one piece of advice in the ad quite funny: "...and don't eat bats." Who the fukc eats bats??

      NickvanGraan - 2014-10-12 10:23

      Should that disease be brought into SA, courtesy of our lax border controls, xenophobia will be the least of Gigaba's and Motsoaledi's problems!

      Sea Weed - 2014-10-12 10:32

      I guess Ebola is about to take over our number one spot as super preditor. Its about time something bring our world population numbers down. Hate me for this, but there are just too many people on this planet!

      Andre Jacobs - 2014-10-12 10:33

      Swazi BORDER here we come--- There is n o real border with Swaziland--- The military better be deployed there-- Zum better protect his extended family from ebolas or they will be his extinguished family. The soldiers will probably be too scared to do that duty----

      Wouter Willemse - 2014-10-12 10:37

      Thank you Andre. Now everyone will go for the Swazi border as they previously did not know it existed!

      Jeremy Forbes - 2014-10-12 11:19

      Yes, we are already killing our own people in state hospitals without ebola.

      Lynn O'Shea Comley-White - 2014-10-12 11:22

      Oh whoop-i-doo! Anthony, Our government is "Wonderful" Let's see what happens when these people from up north come down here with their viruses. I think our government will be running around like chickens who have lost their heads not knowing what to do. Wait and see.

      kmw13047 - 2014-10-12 11:26

      What about all the "security measures" they put in place? Oops they forgot about the borders... eish.... we all know where the training received went

      Jonathan Woods - 2014-10-12 12:23

      Anthony the only thing you have done and proven beyond any doupt is just what a retard you are. As for the right suggestions. You have already read most of them , but childishly cast them aside as the ranting's of DA lunatics. I seriously hope you are one of the first infected. Take just a look at the photo attached to this article and you can see just how easily a virus like this could literally rip through such a community in a matter of hours !

      Andre Jacobs - 2014-10-12 14:30

      Wouter --I am the messenger not the creator of that situation and all illegal traffic is happening through that in any case--They just ask a few anc border guys and they will be directed to it. If you didn't know about it then it is a miracle. The moz border is just a bit more expensive but they also know about that. The Zim border is also easy if they ask around. Many will get in via Namibia or boats to Namibia first getting to Angola. The Swazi one is a bit closer to Nkandla and zum can be worried though. Your /our problem is going to be the police service that won't be able to track the sources of ebola as to quarantine possible cases. They will come in from all over.

      HenriLeRiche - 2014-10-12 14:33

      Nikki - and when the rest of South Africa will be running from Ebola to Cape Town? How do you think the Cape Town health department will cope? Considering SA's health system is not what it used to be.

      Vuyo Ntsinde - 2014-10-12 15:45

      Why SA, and not other african countries, Sa is too far, this is really scary. We are still battling whose origin is unknown.

  • laudenkirk - 2014-10-12 07:47

    Let's pray for protection. Every living creature and man woman and child be protected. When this Ebola hits us it's going to be really bad. We already in so much political and financial pressure. What's next? Germany is already cancelled there summer vacation to lovely incredible South Africa.

      blackmarlene - 2014-10-12 08:35

      Perhaps prayers are more for those who pray that the recipients of those prayers. Maybe it brings them comfort and enables them to deal with difficult situations - instead of smoking or emptying a bottle of dop.

      Victoria Abbot - 2014-10-12 08:53

      Lauden sad idiot, are you looking for attention again?

      Azul Idgaf - 2014-10-12 10:28

      HAHAHA... You are a real nut. Pray? Are you on nyaope, or not intellectually grown-up?

      Reality - 2014-10-12 11:09

      @Marlene wrote..Perhaps prayers are more for those who pray that the recipients of those prayers Totally agree

  • Azana Booi - 2014-10-12 07:48

    Of cause, we are advancing in our PATHETIC SKILLS!!! For the sake of my fellow poor South Africans... I do hope the virus first hits the Politicians homes first! As they think they're immune and don't give a shytte about us!!! Lastly... God help us All.

      Thuto Moloi - 2014-10-12 07:57

      waking up everyday to make the same comments, is that not exhausting?

      Azana Booi - 2014-10-12 08:53

      Thuto Moloi! You wake up EVERYDAY to READ my comments...lmao! Now THAT'S SOMETHING!!!!! Hashanah ha!!!! Your Tender Status ain't gonna protect you from Ebola! Nor protecting zuma with your bums!!!!

      Tried All - 2014-10-12 11:23

      Azana, Thuto is a moron He is not to be blamed

  • Barry Pointeer - 2014-10-12 07:55

    We are ready my ass. Have u seen the state of the state hospital's?

      Jonathan Woods - 2014-10-12 12:39

      Mafa I usually disagree with everything that you ever write. But facing the same danger I am glad that we both see sense. Anthony on the other hand is a completely lost cause ! The sad reality will be that the poorer communities who already live in terrible conditions surrounded by filth, and mostly nutritionally deficient and with the least ability to do anything to protect themselves will be the most vulnerable !

  • Dennis van Aarde - 2014-10-12 07:57

    Health dept please do something SAis at risk

      blackmarlene - 2014-10-12 08:56

      Ja sure. The health department is known for compelling pregnant mothers to give birth on the pavement. For some, having a baby will be the most important thing they will ever do, and government makes them do it on a public road surrounded by strangers who don't know how to help them. And they say they are ready for Ebola? Bwahahahaha!!!!

  • Alain Smit - 2014-10-12 07:58

    They should be shot one by one @#$ Zombies

  • Malibongwe Masiza - 2014-10-12 07:59

    what is clear now,Ebola will arrive in SA,possibly by December,God help us all

      Wouter Willemse - 2014-10-12 10:28

      You think by December? What else do you think? Do you think the virus will wait until December to visit us, like it is on holiday?

      Jonathan Woods - 2014-10-12 12:51

      And not least Nikki is the probability that many health workers will be striking and the army too as they cannot be relied upon, to for example maintain a proper quarantine. And then there is the question of what infrastructure and systems do we have in place to trace all those that came in contact with the first infected entries into the country. Only advise that I would have would be to be fanatical out personal cleanliness and food preparation. Stay away from crowded situations, and even avoid touching other people. And hope that you have an amazing immune system that will keep you safe !

  • Adrian Scott - 2014-10-12 08:00

    Hmmm. So an infected person on his way to SA overland would likely not make it in alive. So what if that person came into contact with other South-bound travellers before he died? Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that Ebola could easily penetrate our borders this way. What's wrong with this govt's - dare I say it - logic?

  • Fern Yates - 2014-10-12 08:01

    South Africa is doing a reason test for people coming over our borders. How about investing in the heat radar systems that the US are using to scan people arriving from West Africa?

      Mike Mcc - 2014-10-12 09:03

      We have one at OR Tambo, it's been there for years already. I would not stake my life on them picking anyone up though.

      Wouter Willemse - 2014-10-12 10:04

      Mike, it works with electricity and we know about electricity and SA. They have history. Not good history. Anyway, maybe someone has stolen the cables already? And what about Cape Town - it is our Mother City. You know that the hand that rocks the cradle controls the world? Our Mother should also be protected. And the Media is spreading panic - they enjoy the sensation it causes, as the sales goes up and up...

  • Molefi Leviy Motshabi - 2014-10-12 08:04

    illegal foreigners are giving birth more than south africans,more than two thousands foreigners enter the country illegally every tell me horrible ministers which situations do you have under control?

  • joannekc1 - 2014-10-12 08:07

    Why SA? There are many other safe countries where they stop before reaching here. Where is the SANDF they should be patrolling the border instead of being paper pushers!!!!

  • Absalom Thili Munyai - 2014-10-12 08:08

    Lets face it, SA is not safe and it's just matter of time before we have cases of ebola. It's one thing to say we have plans and measures in place to detect the virus but another to implement those actions

  • Mark Smith - 2014-10-12 08:11

    Rest assured that the Gov.will do nothing. 20 years ago our borders would have been on high alert and staffed with properly trained soldiers.

      Mc Segal - 2014-10-12 09:17

      Because they can do nothing

      Goeie Donner - 2014-10-12 09:57

      I can just see our "soldiers" hooking up with female refugees at the border, leading them into the bushes for a quick pomp and then sending them on their merry way with a healthy dose of HIV and possibly Ebola.

  • Richard Young - 2014-10-12 08:12

    'They would not make it to the border alive' whilst this may be true, they would infect others who in turn would continue traveling. It's uneducated to say that because the initial individual won't make it all the way that the outbreak will not reach SA.

      Mike Turner - 2014-10-12 08:23

      Richard, pray tell: where is it written that our politicians are required to be educated ??

      Terry Burne - 2014-10-12 08:47

      Richard - that level of logic is way beyond the comprehension of anyone in the zoomer's cabinet!

      blackmarlene - 2014-10-12 09:00

      Mike, education has nothing to do with it - what does appear to be of importance is how far up zuma's zoompipe the politicians are. The further up, the more senior the post.

      lacrimosewolf - 2014-10-12 11:42

      Ja, that's the 'strategy' - hope they die before they get here. This is brain-aching stuff

  • sthembize.zulu - 2014-10-12 08:26

    May be if we deploy the Mokonyane strategic defence brigade to all our borders to protect us ka dibono?!?

  • tshepo.mongale - 2014-10-12 08:29

    A re thibeng ka dibono ba sa tsena

  • tshepo.mongale - 2014-10-12 08:29

    A re thibeng ka dibono ba sa tsena

  • tshepo.mongale - 2014-10-12 08:30


  • blackmarlene - 2014-10-12 08:30

    Our borders should be closed.

      Stirer Kathray - 2014-10-12 09:39

      In addition to checks at the airports, the country's borders should be patrolled like they were during the years of terrorism.

      Wouter Willemse - 2014-10-12 10:31

      Stirer - we are in a terrorism situation. People are more likely to die in SA by gunshot than from Ebola

  • Kim H Rehbock - 2014-10-12 08:30

    Really Scary!

  • Duduzile Nkosi Sibeko - 2014-10-12 08:31

    Shut the boarders

      Stirer Kathray - 2014-10-12 12:15

      How? by refusing them accommodation?

  • Lindile Sa - 2014-10-12 08:32

    They gona die before arrived in s.a

      blackmarlene - 2014-10-12 09:33

      Yup, but what about those they have infected on the way? How do you know that their corpses will be handled correctly to avoid forwarding the disease? The virus continues to live for some time on a dead host.

      Jonathan Woods - 2014-10-12 13:06

      Lindile, I just love the simplicity of your logic. No wonder so few Africans have ever really achieved anything other than being someone else's slaves !

  • Michael Kelynack - 2014-10-12 08:33 the illegals are going to bring ebola. Thats fantastic. Please note the sarcasm. This is whats gonna wipe us out.

      blackmarlene - 2014-10-12 09:13

      Our borders must be closed. WHO must set up treatment centers at all borders of affected and vulnerable countries. Just how much has WHO done about Ebola?

  • Megan Andrews - 2014-10-12 08:34

    SA is in trouble. How can the ministry say people won't Make it to sa border alive. It didn't matter if they do or don't infection will occur in the groups travelling together to reach our border. He was warned. But does not heed the warning. Ridiculous.

      blackmarlene - 2014-10-12 09:25

      Megan, we have been in trouble for a long time. Unfortunately, the people who enabled the trouble by not doing their jobs, will be untouched, and the people they are meant to serve will be the victims. Oh I wish this mess could lead to a forced change of government. At least then the masses might stand a chance of getting through this crisis

  • argie.kgomo - 2014-10-12 08:36

    South Africa and south Africans are never safe because of former political prisoners who cannot even regulate the number of illegal immigrants we have,what kind of a country is that,where people come and go when they feel like yet we have useless departments that target and harass those who obtain documents legally,One can never be proud of being South African.

      sam.e.scapes - 2014-10-12 08:49

      Problem is the densely populated township living conditions in the townships and the taxi transportation is ideal breeding ground for the virus. Add to that the health care system that does not function properly. All it takes are a few infected getting in. Again it will be the poorest of the poor who will suffer. This is so unfair as they are the least equipped to deal with such a thing.

      blackmarlene - 2014-10-12 09:18

      You know Argie, you can be a proud South African! You must not let the actions of a bunch of clowns rob you of you pride. The country needs proud people to succeed in overcoming it's difficulties. Hang in there and be positive.

      Mc Segal - 2014-10-12 09:19

      Truckers are also good for spreading the disease..

  • Elrich Cupido - 2014-10-12 08:42

    If a person is desperate to do something, nothing will stop them. .They can cover 5000km+ in a matter of days cause of desperation. ..

      Craig Morrison - 2014-10-12 09:00

      +/- 5 days. Depending on delays in sneaking across borders.

      Poul Paulos - 2014-10-12 11:53

      we must not forget that truck drivers will help them to get here faster

  • Deon Lowe - 2014-10-12 08:43

    Our Government & " our dear President " has spend R30 Billions of our Tax money protecting our boarders- are you joking ? Lets take a look few amounts that could be used to fix our Hospitals; Recently 65 million for a event - 260 million for a chicken run & swimming pool, etc. R10,8 million just on vehicle rentals for 6 months for our minsters North West premier Thandi Modise for purchasing a R1,3 million BMW 750i. The list goes on .... Viva ANC we are very proud of you!

      blackmarlene - 2014-10-12 09:35

      You forgot R300mfor the road leading to Nkandla.

      Deon Lowe - 2014-10-12 09:54

      #Marlene its not that I forgot , quite frankly I would be here till Christ comes...excuse the pun if I list all wastage of our Taxes ...

      blackmarlene - 2014-10-12 10:23

      You know Deon, what I do not understand is that if I stole or misused something that did not belong to me, I would hang my head in shame. I would be filled with remorse. How is it that these guys really feel squat. Their shenanigans are recognized - they're exposed and they fight to retain their positions of authority - in spite of what has been revealed. Do they feel nothing? I could not look at my face in the mirror, nor sleep at night. I would want to die of shame.

      Deon Lowe - 2014-10-12 11:12

      # Marlene the Ebola outbreak is the beginning of the end for those that don't care, mother nature has intervened, no getting away from the truth. Soon this Virus is going to mutate, you think the black plague of the 18th century was bad ...just wait ...something far worse is coming !!!

      blackmarlene - 2014-10-12 16:35

      I really hope your words are not prophetic. There will be heartbreak and hardship if you're right.

  • Terry Burne - 2014-10-12 08:44

    It's not a case of 'if' it gets to South Africa - it's 'when'?

  • Rox Gee - 2014-10-12 08:49

    "It's not that we are just starting now. We are just ramping up efforts to fight the virus that started in December," said Motsoaledi. There was no outbreak in December, it started in February?!?!?!?!?

  • Steven Swart - 2014-10-12 08:49

    I am sure that our vigilant border patrols will catch them if they manage to scale our excellent border fences. Further more our world class medical services will take care of Ebola chop-chop.

      blackmarlene - 2014-10-12 09:37

      How I wish your comments were true. What is sad is that the potential was there for it all to be true - but it has all been plundered, misused and not maintained.

  • Kaptein Pyn - 2014-10-12 08:51

    We've already got a virus 10 times worse than starts with a "Z" and ends with "uma".

      carmen.tatumm - 2014-10-12 12:39


  • Shireen Eva - 2014-10-12 08:56

    This health minister also recently stated that our provincial hospitals were ready and equipped for the handling of this disease. I bet if I went down to my local state hospital and told them that I had Ebola, they would ask how many cows I have!!

      Mc Segal - 2014-10-12 09:21

      Best comment so far Shireen.

      blackmarlene - 2014-10-12 09:38

      They might also send you out into the street!

  • Allan Brits - 2014-10-12 09:04

    Didn't expect anything less cos our borders are open to all races as long as they are black and the thought of big money is abundant

  • Bongani Nkosi - 2014-10-12 09:05

    shame poor SA government official, they always ignore things,, what a joke by Motsoaledi????

  • Lebza Phathela - 2014-10-12 09:09

    Thats incorrect.....chinise pakistanis whites can also be foreigners....

      Cg Tours - 2014-10-12 12:05

      They come via airports.

  • Lindose Robert - 2014-10-12 09:13

    At last we gonna see if those always making noise about their brothers&sisters they are on the way welcome them with open arms its time to prove yourselves.

  • Thando Thasco Mpehle - 2014-10-12 09:30

    I think that the South African Government should stop the commercial flights from all the the West African countries affected by Ebola in order to strength the S.A. borders and to prevent the outbreak here. This will prevent migrants from entering S.A. illegaly and without them being not tested.

  • Neil Phillips - 2014-10-12 09:32

    Government is taking an ostrich approach. Takes one carrier to cross any border which would result in an exponential breakout. None would devulge their origon. Whatbis really dissappointing is no education/awareness attempt from the government. Preventative measures are inadequate and little but no emergency or containment protocols in place.

  • Adie Masana - 2014-10-12 09:32

    Welcome Ebola together with the west Africans to south africa. Our border petrol is to relaxed.

  • C-go Sego Leigh - 2014-10-12 09:32

    oh my word they need to stay where they are!!!

  • Bridgette Elk - 2014-10-12 09:38

    Ladies and gents, I present you our esteemed health minister Aaron Motsoaledi - clearly doesnt understand the basic principle of how diseases are spread ! Its not about distance travelled, its a numbers game, and the more people infected, the higher the likelihood that it will eventually get to us, regardless of how far or where its coming from ! I hope this is not a case of too little too late from the SA government again ....

  • Adie Masana - 2014-10-12 09:40

    Our government is welcoming the west Africans into our S.A with open arms. We can't do anything we just have to protect ourselves.

  • Ashley Moloisane - 2014-10-12 09:42

    If I were in one of those affected countries, I would also run to SA as it's the safest of the lot in the continent

  • Bertus Pretorius - 2014-10-12 09:43


  • Bertus Pretorius - 2014-10-12 09:45

    And our non existing defence force we might as well just throw open our borders completely.

      blackmarlene - 2014-10-12 09:50

      I think they are already wide open.

  • CliveK - 2014-10-12 09:49

    Anthony, Anthony, Anthony, why do I react to your nonsense? As far as I can see, the DA was not even mentioned in the report; why bring them in? One thing we can be sure of: a lot of disreputable characters will find it far easier to get in - and probably stay on - than the Dalai Lama did.

  • Makhokolotso Mk Nkeane - 2014-10-12 09:51

    These people have been flocking here since the outbreak in their countries, you guys are only panicking now coz it made headlines***

      DarrenCooper68 - 2014-10-12 09:56

      Um, your logic is stupid.

      Makhokolotso Mk Nkeane - 2014-10-12 10:20

      Stupid or not, its a fact* chances are it already is in the country*

  • Adv Goitseone Legoete - 2014-10-12 09:51

    Stop them right there.they must not come

  • Fanie Brink - 2014-10-12 10:00

    We don't want these Ebola taxi's in SA!!!!

  • Thando Thasco Mpehle - 2014-10-12 10:08

    South Africans are ignorant, if an Ebola outbreak would occur in S.A., the Virus would spread 2 times more than it is now.