18 May 2020

COVID-19 State of Disaster & Lockdown Regulations: Update 18 May 2020


To accommodate slightly relaxed lockdown measures under Level 4, amendments have been made to several ministerial directives. One has been repealed and clarity has been provided on others.

Movement of people and goods

  • On 14 May, the 7 May ministerial directive allowing once-off relocation to a new place of residence under Covid-19 lockdown Level 4 was repealed and replaced with one:
    • also permitting people and goods to move once across provincial, metropolitan and district boundaries when relocating a business to new premises
    • allowing a victim of domestic violence to move elsewhere, and
    • making once-off movement permissible throughout the Level 4 lockdown period.

Specific documents are to be carried under each set of circumstances.

Deeds offices

  • These reopened on 13 May, but not to members of the public. According to a media statement announcing the move:
    • ‘all services will be available and all lodgements … accepted’, but
    • ‘only conveyancers’ will be allowed to enter the buildings concerned.

Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS)

  • employees who have made UIF contributions to apply individually for TERS benefits, but only:
    • if their employers have ‘failed or refused’ to do so, and
    • where no TERS bargaining council agreement is in place.
  • Where a TERS bargaining council agreement is in place, an employer may not:
    • apply to the TERS for relief on behalf of qualifying employees, or
    • receive benefits on their behalf.


Social grants


  • On 9 May, the 30 March ministerial directive on minimising the impact of Covid-19 on Department of Social Development services (already amended on 7 April) was amended again. According to a media statement on the new directive, it:
  • reinstates all temporary disability grants that lapsed between February and March, extending them from the date they were suspended until the end of October
  • reinstates ‘care dependency and foster child grants’ that have already lapsed under lockdown or are due to do so
  • allows ‘any child’ not at the residence of his/her primary caregiver before the lockdown began to return to that residence
  • upon the recommendation of a social worker, allows the release of a service user from a:
    • substance abuse treatment centre
    • halfway house
    • shelter for the victims of gender-based violence, and
    • child and youth care facility, and
  • prioritises ‘all matters relating to children in conflict with the law’.




  • A ministerial directive was gazetted on 13 May, retrospectively allowing ‘final year medical students registered at South African public universities’ to travel to their campuses between 8 and 31 May to resume their studies.
  • According to a 30 April media statement on phasing in post-school education and training during the State of Disaster, these students will be required to ‘directly assist’ the Department of Health with its ‘campaign’ on ‘health management’.


Home Affairs


  • prescribe the procedures to be followed when applying to enter or leave SA to receive ‘emergency medical attention for (a) life-threatening condition’ or for repatriation purposes
  • bring the ‘officials of international organisations’ accredited to SA within the ambit of travel arrangement provisions previously applicable only to members of the diplomatic corps, and
  • subject to Department of Health ‘quarantine and isolation requirements’, bring the movement of ‘resident diplomats’ within SA within the ambit of Department of International Relations & Co-operation guidelines issued through diplomatic channels.


  • Measures to be taken by informal, micro and small businesses providing essential services were clarified in a ministerial directive issued on 12 May. They include:
  • workplace occupational health and safety requirements
  • guidance on the necessary trading permits and/or business licences
  • the procedures to be followed when applying for a permit or licence
  • the criteria to be met, and
  • prohibited practices and minimum standards for:
    • small-scale bakeries and confectioneries
    • small-scale hardware stores
    • informal and micro restaurants and shisanyamas
    • tradesmen and artisans
    • sole traders in clothing and textiles, and
    • cooperatives.


  • The Covid-19 distressed business loan guarantee scheme was operationalised on 12 May. Details are provided in a document answering general questions about the scheme.


Business in general


  • On 14 May, a ministerial directive re-opened the-commerce sector for the purchase of all goods except liquor and tobacco products (the thinking behind this move is explained in a Department of Trade, Industry and Competition media statement).
  • Two ministerial directives were gazetted on 12 May to:
    • list the essential winter clothing, footwear and home textile items to be sold by retail outlets during lockdown Level 4, and
    • re-open motor vehicle trading activities.
  • According to a Department of Trade, Industry and Competition media statement on the list of essential winter clothing, footwear and home textile items to be available at retailers, it was agreed with signatories to the sector master plan launched at last November’s investment conference.


Financial sector


  • On 8 May, the Prudential Authority and Cooperative Banks Development Agency released a communication on their approach to relieving co-operative financial institutions and banks from the ‘stress’ associated with operating during the State of Disaster.
  • On 12 May, the Prudential Authority and Financial Sector Conduct Authority issued a joint communication on their approach to business interruption insurance.



  • The 29 April disaster management regulations list of industries and activities permitted under lockdown Level 4 was amended on 15 May to:
    • ‘provide for the continuous supply of energy and petroleum products’; and
    • ‘allow maintenance and construction work for energy projects to resume’.


  • Three ministerial directives were issued on 14 May, focusing on permitting, licensing and related administrative requirements for:

Municipal funding

  • On 12 May, National Treasury issued a media statement explaining how conditional grant funds allocated to municipalities in 2019/20 ‘but not contractually committed’ will be reallocated and used to:
    •  provide access to water and sanitation in ‘under-serviced informal settlements’
    • ‘fund the roll-out of water tanks to … communities without reliable access to water services’
    • ‘restore the functionality of water infrastructure’
    • ‘cover the increased costs of more frequent waste management and other services’, and
    • sanitise public transport facilities.


See prior regulations and directives here


Prepared by Pam Saxby


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