11 August 2020

COVID-19 State of Disaster and Lockdown Regulations: Update (11 August 2020)

COVID-19 State of Disaster and Lockdown Regulations: Update (11 August 2020)




  • A directive issued on 7 August by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize:
    • links each alert/lockdown level to epidemiological trends and health system readiness
    • defines ‘alert level’ in terms of the severity of restrictions considered appropriate ‘nationally or in a province, metropolitan area or district’, in keeping with sub-paragraph 3(2) of the 29 April disaster management regulations for lockdown level four
    • explains the role of the Minister’s advisory committee in recommending area-specific alert levels, informed by:
      • trends in the number of tests done
      • persons screened
      • positive cases
      • recoveries and their demographic profile, and
      • the capacity of an area’s health system to respond to the disease burden at a given time, including:
        • bed occupancy levels
        • available support facilities, and
        • human and other resources.
  • According to a situational update from the Minister on 5 August, at the time:
    • it was ‘still too early for … definite conclusions regarding the observed decline’ in hospital admissions and the number of people under investigation
    • ‘despite the surge’ there had not been a ‘significant increase in deaths’, and
    • hospital capacity had not yet been ‘breached’.
  • A separate directive directive gazetted on 7 August (amending one issued on 17 July) among other things:
    • allows self-isolation and self-quarantine in a person’s ‘own private residence’ (subject to meeting certain requirements)
    • reduces from 14 to 10 days the minimum period of mandatory quarantine, and
    • specifies the isolation and de-isolation timeframes and related requirements to be adhered to when someone tests Covid-19 positive and is either asymptomatic or symptomatic.
  • Please note: The original regulations for lockdown level three, which provided more detail on alert levels, were later amended to remove all references to ‘hotspots’.


Social grants


  • On 6 August, a ministerial directive was issued allowing any unsuccessful applicant for a special temporary social-relief-of-distress grant during the State of Disaster to apply for a reassessment on the understanding that the request:
    • is made electronically before 21 August (or, for applications made after 6 August, 15 days from the date on which the application was turned down)
    • confined to reasons for disputing the decision,
    • does not include any ‘new or additional evidence’
    • is processed within 30 days, and that
    • the reassessment’s outcome is understood to be ‘the final decision’ (unless the courts are approached for a judicial review).
  • The new directive also allows Sassa to review the circumstances of a Covid-19 temporary grant beneficiary and discontinue the grant.
  • In addition, the directive extends until 31 December the validity period of:
    • temporary and permanent disability grants that lapsed in July
    • temporary and permanent disability grants due to lapse during August, September and October, and
    • care dependency grants due to lapse in October.
  • The validity of medical reports submitted during the State of Disaster in support of disability grant applications has been extended to six months from the date of assessment, as opposed to three.




  • A tourism sector recovery plan published on 3 August for comment:
    • makes recommendations under three ‘strategic themes’ ‘central to SA’s recovery’:
      • ‘re-igniting demand’
      • ‘rejuvenating supply’, and
      • ‘strengthening enabling capability’, and
    • prioritises resuming operations ‘as early as it is safe to do so’.
  • A new ministerial directive was gazetted on 6 August:
    • spelling out the measures to be taken by guided tour operators resuming limited activities
    • requiring accommodation establishments to ensure that ‘no more than two persons … occupy a room’ unless they are members of a nuclear family, and
    • defining the term as ‘including other family members or caregivers living in the same household’.
  • A directive issued on 7 August by Forestry, Fisheries and Environment Minister Barbara Creecy allows guided tours and self-drive excursions at:
    • zoos
    • aquaria
    • animal rehabilitation facilities and sanctuaries, and
    • botanical gardens.




  • On 7 August, a ministerial directive was gazetted allowing:
  • ‘intra-provincial hunting’ (with no mention of ‘meat for consumption’), and
  • access to overnight accommodation (amending one issued on 28 July).


Sport, arts and culture


  • A ministerial directive issued on 6 August (amending one gazetted on 6 July):
    • prohibits any sports activity or arrangement related to international events or preparing for them (unless under an employment contract with a foreign team), and
    • spells out additional control measures applicable to the use of sporting venues, focusing on barring spectators.
  • On 3 August, Sports, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa announced a new widow of opportunity for applications from athletes and ‘creatives’ for relief during the State of Disaster. According to the Minister:
    • only those relying solely on income earned from participating in sporting events or ‘art, culture and heritage activities’ will be considered
    • those on fixed-term contracts will not be eligible
    • freelancers and independent contractors may qualify, depending on their individual circumstances.




Gender-based violence


  • A policy framework for addressing gender-based violence in the post-school education and training system was released on 31 July. Among other things, it:
    • spells out the measures to be taken by every state-run tertiary education institution to curb gender-based violence on campus, and
    • commits the Department of Higher Education and Training to:
      • developing ‘regulations, norms, standards, guidelines and standardised procedures’, and
      • establishing the necessary ‘national structures’, and
      • refers to the possibility of establishing a sector-specific register of offenders.




  • Draft amendments to the 2003 plastic bag manufacturing regulations were gazetted on 7 August for comment, proposing a phased approach to making 100% post-consumer recyclate content mandatory.
  • The purpose of a draft Antarctic Treaty regulations released on 7 August for comment is to ‘prevent and mitigate significant harm’ to Antarctica’s ‘pristine environment’ by prioritising scientific research and conservation and by dealing, among other things, with:
    • environmental emergencies and related liabilities
    • waste disposal and management, and
    • marine pollution and related shipping matters.


National minimum wage


  • The 2020 National Minimum Wage Amendment Act was gazetted on 7 July:
    • correcting a cross-referencing error in the 2018 National Minimum Wage Act, and
    • making 1 May 2017 the date on which it became unfair labour practice for an employer to unilaterally alter wages, hours of work or other conditions of employment in anticipation of the introduction of a national minimum wage in January 2019.


Prepared by Pam Saxby

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