State of Disaster regulations and lockdown directives, focusing on the ones most likely to affect you, family, friends and the business or non-profit organisation you work for
There have been many changes to the State of Disaster regulations since they were gazetted on 18 March. However, Cooperative Governance & Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma did say in her media briefing on the regulations that, ‘as the situation evolves’, more regulations and ministerial directives might become necessary. The lockdown has since prompted a flurry of ‘directions’ from various Cabinet members on very specific matters.
They build on and fine tune the basic lockdown regulations (amended three times), which are encapsulated below.
Facilities providing care for the vulnerable
Issued on 30 March, a directive from Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu spells out the procedures to be followed and protocols observed not only by her department but also by the non-profit, faith-based and community-based organisations involved in running facilities for the vulnerable. It focuses on measures aimed at enforcing social distancing – among other things by prohibiting visits and the release of facility residents.
Organisations most likely to be affected include:
substance abuse treatment centres and halfway houses
child and youth care centres
shelters for the victims of crime and violence (including gender-based violence)
old age homes and frail care facilities
residential facilities for persons with disabilities
community- and home-based respite care facilities
‘community nutrition development’ centres
services related to the ‘social relief of distress (including psychosocial support)
While several programmes have been suspended, the National Youth Development Agency is required to ‘sponsor additional volunteers’ for unspecified nutrition programmes.
A 7 April directive clarifies the prohibition on moving children between ‘co-holders of parental responsibility’ during the lockdown period. Parents may now move their children between them, provided they can produce their custody court order/agreement or a certified copy.
Beginning in May, social grant and pension payment dates will be staggered to protect people with disabilities and older persons from ‘the month-end rush’.
Good news for anyone caring for a baby, infant or toddler younger than 3 years of age is that baby clothes, blankets, towels and other essential accessories are classified as ‘essential goods’.
UIF during the lockdown
The temporary unemployment relief scheme established on 26 March applies to the staff of businesses and other entities closed during the lockdown. Key features are that it is:
delinked from the UIF’s normal benefits
calculated using the income replacement sliding scale prescribed in the Act
capped at R17712 per month.
To assist staff temporarily laid off and unable to travel under the lockdown, employers should apply on their behalf.
The directive was amended on 8 April to confirm that:
no employee qualifying for temporary unemployment benefits under the scheme will receive less than the minimum monthly wage of R3500
no bank may refuse to release benefits held in the account of an employer or bargaining council that’s ‘in breach of its overdraft or similar contractual arrangements’.
A directive issued on the 26 March was amended (and, in fact, replaced) five days later. A media statement on the amended directive confirmed that:
‘essential justice services will be available at courts only between 10:00 and 13:00 daily during the national lockdown period’
this also applies to the Family Advocate, the offices of the Master of the High Court and ‘criminal courts’
‘family law services will only attend to urgent applications in respect of matters referred to the Family Advocate by the courts’
‘applications for protection orders will still be addressed, as will enforcement orders’
the offices of the Master of the High Court will only attend to ‘urgent appointments’ about deceased estates and curatorship
‘criminal courts’ will preside over bail hearings and first applications only
persons whose cases are on the court roll but not deemed urgent should ‘stay home’ and not visit ‘courthouses’ until after the lockdown
matters on the court roll will be rescheduled and members of the public informed of new dates for court appearances
audio-visual technology will be used ‘as widely as possible’ at correctional centres to deal with remand-related matters
A directive on correctional facilities issued on 9 April:
suspended day parole for sentenced offenders unless ‘rendering essential services’
they are to be ‘incarcerated for the duration of the lockdown period’
the ‘referral of remand detainees to court for consideration of their length of detention and bail review will continue’.
‘urgent’ communication between an inmate and his/her legal representative will only be conducted telephonically, resources permitting
sentenced offenders who are illegal foreign nationals and whose sentences expire during the lockdown are to be released into and held in ‘temporary deportation facilities’, where those to be deported will be notified of government’s intentions
sentenced offenders who are foreign nationals, whose sentences expire during the lockdown and who are to remain in SA will be released into Department of Home Affairs facilities ‘for further processing’
The validity of a driver’s licence, learner’s licence, motor vehicle licence disc, temporary permit, professional driving permit and roadworthy certificate will extend 30 days after the end of the lockdown. A directive confirming this was issued on 30 March.
Directives affecting small businesses (SMMEs)
On 6 April, a ministerial directive confirmed that:
corner shops, spaza shops and fruit and vegetable informal traders and langanas are classified as essential services irrespective of the nationality of the owners
the same applies to every small, medium or micro enterprise operating a grocery store
informal food traders must have a permit issued by the municipality where trading
where a business owner is not a South African citizen, he/she is required to hold a valid passport and visa, or an asylum seeker permit
minimal staffing, social distancing and sanitising/disinfecting protocols apply
only ‘basic necessities’ may be sold
nobody may ‘stay overnight’ in a grocery store
Here is the website providing information on the Covid-19 SMME debt relief finance scheme and here is the application form. Qualifying criteria do not include broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) compliance, unless you are in the tourism industry.
B-BBEE compliance is a requirement when applying for assistance from the Covid-19 tourism relief fund for SMMEs, established on 2 April by ministerial directive.
Directives affecting the healthcare sector
On 19 March, a block exemption from certain sections of the Competition Act was issued allowing ‘private healthcare providers to coordinate their actions as part of … National Department of Health efforts’ to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus. A media statement on the exemption refers to ‘the sharing of facilities and beds, medical supplies, nurses and doctors between different companies and with government’.
The list of facilities and suppliers falling under the block exemption was extended on 8 April, so it now applies to:
hospitals and healthcare facilities
pathologists and laboratories
medical and hygiene suppliers
certain cost-reduction agreements and practices
On 27 March, for quarantine purposes the hotel industry was issued with a block exemption from the same sections of the Competition Act.
Directives affecting the financial sector
A directive issued on 23 March exempts two banking operations from these sections of the Competition Act:
the payments system
debtor and credit management
In addition, to support SA’s banking system as it responds to the needs of customers during the Covid-19 epidemic, the Prudential Authority has issued three directives summarised in a media statement released on 6 April:
a directive on the liquidity coverage ratio lowered the minimum requirement
a directive on restructured loans to households, small- and medium-sized businesses and corporates ‘in good standing before the Covid-19 crisis’ provided capital relief that also applies to ‘specialised lending’
a directive on temporary capital relief reduced the prescribed ‘minimum requirement of capital and reserve funds to be maintained by banks’
Business in general
Retailers specialising in non-essential goods
A directive issued on 24 March exempts ‘designated retail tenants’ and ‘retail property landlords’ from certain sections of the Competition Act, allowing negotiations on ‘payment holidays or rental discounts’ and ‘limitations on evictions’. A media statement on broader measures affecting the business community refers to three categories of retailers:
‘personal care functions’
clothing, footwear and ‘home textile’
Stockpiling and price hikes
A directive on stockpiling and ‘unjustified price hikes’ by retailers and suppliers was issued on 19 March. A media statement on Department of Trade, Industry and Competition lockdown measures notes that the purpose of the directive is to ‘protect consumers, … ensure fairness and promote social solidarity’ by:
ensuring that no price rise exceeds a related increase in the cost of raw material and/or other inputs
capping price increases at pre-lockdown levels
requiring retailers to:
‘take steps to limit the quantity of goods sold to any individual consumer’
stock all ‘basic products’
maintain adequate stocks of these products, including over weekends and during month-end peaks in shopping
prohibiting stockpiling at wholesale cash-and-carries
A directive issued on 6 April is expected to fast-track the process of allocating high-demand radio frequency spectrum and the temporary licensing of any other spectrum already available. An ICASA media statement confirmed that the directive’s intention is to ‘enable’ the electronic communications sector to meet increased demand for ICT services during the lockdown, when so many people are working and studying from home.
The directive also requires network providers to allow zero-rated access to local educational content websites and ‘virtual classroom platforms’.
A directive on essential service call centres was issued on 9 April, affecting:
sharing equipment, stationery and utensils
biometric contact access points
movement outside call centre premises
self-monitoring for Covid-19 infection symptoms
mandatory symptom disclosure
Here’s how things stand, just over three weeks after a national State of Disaster was declared on 15 March – and as SA enters its third week in lockdown. The basics are taken from disaster management regulations gazetted on 18 March, amended on 25 March to include lockdown measures, amended again on 26 March and on 2 April.
The exact wording of the amended regulations can be found here for more detail on funerals, Covid-19 testing and contract tracing.
Movement of people
You’re confined to your home, unless you
perform or provide an essential service (if necessary, you may travel to another city, district or province to do so)
want to purchase an essential good or avail yourself of an essential service
are collecting a social grant or pension
needto receive emergency, life-savingor chronic medical attention
need to attend a funeral
Note: Anyone performing an essential service, purchasing essential goods or seeking medical attention may be screened for Covid-19 by an enforcement officer
Only certain people may travel to another city, district or province to attend a funeral:
the spouse or partner of the deceased
a child of the deceased (whether biological, adopted or a stepchild)
a child-in-law of the deceased
a parent of the deceased (whether biological, adopted or a stepparent)
a sibling of the deceased (whether biological, adopted or a stepbrother or stepsister)
a grandparent of the deceased
a ‘person closely affiliated to the deceased’ (because of parental or caregiving responsibilities or ‘psychological or emotional attachment’)
In each case, a permit is required (from a magistrate or SAPS officer)
only funerals are allowed, and no more than 50 people may attend
Movement of goods
cargo may be moved from ports of entry to their intended destination (but only if it has been sanitised/disinfected)
Movement of mortal remains
this requires a permit
only businesses involved in manufacturing/producing and/or supplying/providing an essential good or service may operate during the lockdown
if business operations are conducted remotely from a person’s home or from another country, these activities may continue
only retail shops selling essential goods may remain open for business (in such cases, there should be a distance of at least one square meter between everyone on the premises, hygienic conditions should be maintained, and all the necessary protocols followed)
they may only sell essential goods
shopping malls are closed
the premises, plant, machinery and inventories of businesses not allowed to operate during the lockdown must be adequately maintained so they can resume operations when the lockdown ends
there are no commuter transport or other passenger transport services operating
the only passenger transport vehicles allowed on the roads are buses and taxiscarrying people who:
provide essential goods or services
need to obtain them
need medical attention
are collecting social grants or pensions
are attending a funeral service
private motor vehicles may be used for the same reasons
buses and e-hailing services may not carry more than 50% of their licensed capacity
mini- and midi-bus taxis may not carry more than 70% of their licensed capacity
private vehicles may not carry more than 60% of their licensed capacity
where transport is provided by an employer, the vehicle used may only carry 50% of its licensed capacity
all hygiene and exposure limiting protocols must be followed
all national borders are closed (except to consignments of fuel, cargo and goods)
only in special circumstances is anyone allowed to enter or exit SA (for emergency medical attention to a life-threatening condition, or for repatriation to their country of nationality or permanent residence)
any food product, including non-alcoholic beverages
chemicals, packaging and ancillary products used in producing any foodstuff
cleaning and hygiene products
toilet paper, sanitary pads, sanitary tampons and condoms
hand sanitiser, disinfectants, soap and household cleaningproducts
personal toiletries, including haircare, body and face washes, deodorants and toothpaste
products for the care of babies and toddlers
medicaland hospital supplies and equipment
personal protective equipment
fuel, including coal, wood and gas
basic goods, including airtime, electricity and cash (withdrawn from ATMs)
chemicals, packaging and ancillary products used in producing essential non-food goods (including alcohol for industrial use)
medical, health (including mental health) and laboratory services
services provided by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases
disaster management, fire prevention, firefighting and other emergency services
services necessary to maintain the functioning of SA’s financialsystem (when the operation of a place of business or entity is necessary to continue performing those services)
the banking environment (including the operations of mutual banks, cooperativebanks, co-operative financial institutions and the Postbank)
the payments environment
the financial markets (including licensed market infrastructures)
the insurance environment
the savings and investment environment
pension fund administration
medical schemes administration
call centres necessary for providing these services
debt collection services are explicitly excluded
funeral and cremation services, including mortuary services and those necessary for transporting mortal remains
wildlife management, anti-poaching, animal care and veterinary services
newspaper, broadcasting and telecommunication infrastructure and services (including the call centres necessary for supporting these services)
the manufacture and production of essential goods
the sale of essential goods
wholesale produce markets
informal traders (informal food trading requires a permit)
electricity, water, gas and fuelproduction(including vital demand management,supply and maintenanceservices)
essential municipal and other government services and the call centres necessary for providing them
any other jobs key to providing essential municipal and other government services, including
contact tracing (to find people who have been in contact with anyone infected with the Covid-19 virus or are infected themselves)
issuing birth and death certificates
replacing identification documents
services related to the essential functioning of courts, judicial officers, the Master of the High Court, Sheriffs and any legal practitioners required for those services
essential SARS services
police, peace officers, military personnel, medical personnel, correctional services officials, traffic officers and traffic management services
social care services provided to older persons, the mentally ill, persons with disabilities, the sick and children (including services providing for the social relief of distress)
cleaning, sanitation, pest control, sewerage, waste and refuse removalservices
airtraffic navigation, air charter, cargo shipping anddockyard services
the Civil Aviation Authority
private security services
air charter services
courier services for transporting medical products
tow trucks and vehicle recovery services
gold, gold refinery, coal and essential mining services
accommodation for peopleproviding essential services
accommodation for quarantine, isolation and other lockdown measures
rail, road, air and maritime freight/cargo services
logistics and transport services for essential goods
logistics and transport services for cargo and goods toneighbouring countries
harvesting and storage activities essential to preventing the wastage of primaryagricultural goods
critical maintenance services
services rendered by ‘the executive’, MPs, the members of provincial legislatures, local councillors, traditional leaders and ‘the national office bearers of political parties represented in Parliament’
the Public Protector and Deputy Public Protector
Commissioners of the South African Human Rights Commission, Gender Commission and the Commission for the Promotion & Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious & Linguistic Communities
Places closed to the public
anywhere ‘normally open to the public’ for religious, cultural, sporting, entertainment, recreational or ‘organisational’ activities
parks, beaches and swimming pools
open air food markets
fetes and bazaars
hotels, lodges, guest houses, game reserves and holiday resorts
‘on-consumption premises’, including taverns, shebeens and shisanyama where liquoris sold
‘off-consumption premises’, including bottle stores and the sections of supermarkets selling liquor
theatres and cinemas
retailers and wholesalers dealing in non-essential goods
shopping malls and centres (only grocery stores and pharmacies in those locations may continue operating)
taxi ranks, bus depots, train stations and airports
We hope you find this useful. Let us know of any improvements you believe need to be made
Compiled by Pam Saxby
The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) has called on the government to allow certain business sectors to reopen after president Cyril Ramaphosa extended the country’s lockdown period by an additional two weeks.
The business body, which has a membership comprising approximately 20,000 small, medium and large enterprises, commended president Ramaphosa on his leadership and management of the current crisis.
“We acknowledge the difficult but necessary decision, to further place South Africa in lock-down for the next two weeks, as there is still no certainty on the real effect of the current 21-day lock- down measures,” said Sacci chief executive officer, Alan Mukoki.
In an address to the nation on Thursday evening (09 April), the president, said that after careful consideration of the available evidence, the National Coronavirus Command Council decided to extend the nation-wide lockdown by a further two weeks beyond the initial 21 days.
“This means that most of the existing lockdown measures will remain in force until the end of April.
“We will use the coming days to evaluate how we will embark on risk-adjusted measures that can enable a phased recovery of the economy, allowing the return to operation of certain sectors under strictly controlled conditions,” said Ramaphosa.
In this regard, Sacci suggested “a staggered return to business, starting with industries who can demonstrate high levels of social distancing and health control, like the Fast Food Outlets (FFOs) industry”.
This industry, Mukoki said, already operates with high health and safety standards and can be done under the following Covid 19 pandemic health risk mitigation conditions:
1. All staff can be appropriately and consistently tested for health and Covid 19 infection.
2. All staff to be provided with the relevant personal protective equipment where applicable. For example Masks.
3. The outlets to maintain the highest of standards of hygiene.
4. The industry to make suitable arrangements for the transportation of their staff to and from work, and to ensure that the chosen mode of transport meets the highest of health standards.
5. To start prepared food orders can be distributed through drive-through and delivery channels, then followed by take away or call-and-collect under strict social distancing. No sit downs to be permitted.
Sacci reiterated that South Africa entered a technical recession before the start of this health pandemic.
“In the period since then we have also been downgraded to junk by the ratings agencies,” Mukoki said.
“Even without this pandemic, our economy would have faced significant problems in the areas of macro economy performance and prospects, with negative GDP growth, a worsening exchange rate, adverse rising inflation and interest rates, plus a potential exploding unemployment crisis that can trigger social and political instability,” he said.
Sacci said it believes that FFOs are a good responsible choice to slowly bring back business with an important food offering that serves most South Africans.
Additionally, the majority of FFO fall in the category of SMEs. “Allowing them to go back to work under these strict conditions, releases the pressure on the SME relief support measures and UIF funds,” said Mukoki.
“Given the constrain in public finances, the relief measures will not be adequate to stem the downward tide, as the cash is likely to burn out in a matter of weeks.
“This cannot be a sustainable strategy,” he said.
The FFOs employ more than 150,000 people. Many businesses are likely to close down and there will be major job losses as a result, Mukoki said.
“The key words are phased and controlled, to ensure that the return to work is not going to be counter-productive to the objectives of controlling the pandemic.
“We believe the mitigation measures that have been proposed and the Fast Food Industry is prepared to work with, are more than adequate.
“To protect the SA economy from a total collapse, we have to look beyond the lock-down as the only option,” Mukoki said.
Every disaster creates an opportunity, the time has come to change South Africa for the good of all.
We need to act now.
We need a non biased/partisan and non political movement to be formed to turn things around. and hold government accountable.
We can spend our time finding and executing solutions to solve the inequality that is keeping our nation apart.
The billions that was looted by the corrupt officials would have gone a far way in overcoming our current adversity instead of harvesting votes for self serving political leaders and cadres.
The failures of democratic South Africa. Our democracy is corrupt, politicians are spending valuable energy fighting among themselves to further their own causes instead of working on solutions to improve the plight of our nations inhabitants.
Our constitution has no impact on these corrupt officials in all spheres of government.
With a national network, without corrupt officials, we can harness financial resources sourced locally, globally and NGO infrastructures that will enable us to give and monitor valuable support to the needy citizens of South Africa. If we can't bring the top down, let's create bottom up leadership to enable all to once again believe in their country.
I am confident that we have a considerable pool of professional patriots and interested parties that could assist to take this further.
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