15 June 2020

COVID-19 State of Disaster and Lockdown Regulations: Update (15 June 2020)


Lockdown level 3

Last week, Trade, Industry & Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel issued a new directive making several important changes.

  • In the light of Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi’s 4 June directive on consolidated workplace health and safety requirements, two earlier directives were withdrawn:
    • the 19 April directive on call centre operations under lockdown levels five and four, and
    • the 12 May directive on emergency automobile repairs and the sale of cars during lockdown level four.
  • Minister Patel’s new directive also confirmed that his 12 May directive on the sale of clothing, footwear and bedding during lockdown level four expired at midnight on 31 May.
  • In addition, the new directive included the ‘cinema exhibition industry’ in a 24 March directive exempting designated retail tenants and their landlords from sections 4 and 5 of the Competition Act and allowing them to:
    • negotiate nationwide rental-related agreements that may include:
      • ‘payment holidays
      • rental discounts
      • adjustments to restrictive lease agreement clauses, and
      • limitations on evictions.
  • Finally, the new directive removed the export duty on certain medications affected by a 27 March directive on licensing requirements during lockdown levels five and four.

Also last week:


  • The Department of Social Development confirmed that early childhood development centres will remain closed under Covid-19 lockdown level three, pending the outcome of a sector-wide readiness and risk assessment.
  • Higher Education, Training and Innovation Minister Blade Nzimande issued a directive on the phased reopening of campuses under lockdown levels three, two and one.
  • Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi amended his 26 March directive (already amended on 9 May) to:
    • list documents to be presented to the Department of Home Affairs by South African citizens planning to return to another country to work, live or study
    • specify requirements relating to passenger manifests
    • extend to 31 July the validity of expired or about-to-expire:
      • asylum seeker permits
      • refugee status documents, and
      • ‘Lesotho special permits’, and to
    • prohibit visits to the Lindela holding facility other than by consular representatives.
  • Sports, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa issued two directives:
    • amending his 9 April directive on sports gatherings to allow certain professional, non-contact sports and related sports code training to resume, and
    • amending his 4 May ministerial directive on measures to be taken by the creative sector when producing local content for streaming and livestreaming or otherwise resuming operations under lockdown level three.
  • Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams (newly reinstated) amended a 3 May directive (already amended on 26 May) to spell out measures to be taken to curb the spread of the virus and limit exposure to infection at the workplace by the providers of:
    • electronic communications services
    • electronic communications network services
    • online services
    • broadcasting services, and by
    • advertising agencies
    • film and television production units, as well as the providers of
    • postal services
    • courier services, and
    • Postbank services.



Audio-visual content for the disabled

  • Draft regulations on facilitating improved access to electronic communications and broadcasting services by the hearing and visually impaired were gazetted for public comment by 12 July. Issues covered include:
    • audio description
    • sign language
    • subtitles
    • closed captioning, including:
      • ‘news text straplines’ for cross-channel breaking news
    • a range of formats for accessing a broadcaster’s website
    • accessible information on:
      • economic indicators
      • weather details, and
      • goods and services shown on-screen
    • access to non-scheduled services using:
      • personal video digital recorders, and
      • video on demand
    • hearing and visual aid compatibility requirements for fixed line and mobile handsets
    • voice recognition, and
    • warnings about content that may disturb photosensitive audiences.


Financial sector regulation

  • National Treasury provided a synopsis of the 2020 Financial Sector Regulation Amendment Bill approved by Cabinet for tabling in Parliament. Not yet available, the Bill will propose:
    • a comprehensive framework for the resolution of failed large, systemically important financial institutions, including banks; and
    • an ‘industry-funded deposit insurance scheme to protect qualifying depositors’ funds up to a specified limit’.


  • The National Planning Commission invited public input by 30 June on a position paper:
    • based on studies of Eskom, Transnet and the Passenger Rail Agency of SA
    • providing ‘tools’ for improving the performance of state-owned enterprises in general, and
    • including recommendations on reforms focusing on:
      • governance
      • financial management
      • structural issues, and
      • policy and process.


Prepared by Pam Saxby

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