COVID-19 State of Disaster and Lockdown Regulations: Update (20 July 2020)
LOCKDOWN LEVEL 3
Basic income grant
- On 13 July, Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu issued a media statement confirming that ‘discussions’ on the introduction of a basic income grant (BIG) ‘have been brought back to the table’ and that the matter is being ‘considered’ in the context of government’s ‘fiscal capabilities’.
- At this stage, if introduced BIG’s purpose would be to allow ‘continuing’ access to Covid-19 social relief of distress grants by ‘most’ of SA’s ‘poorer individuals’, ‘targeting’ the country’s ‘most vulnerable groups’:
- ‘youth between 18 and 24’, and
- ‘the elderly between 50 and 59’.
- If necessary, the grant would then be ‘progressively’ expanded to provide for ‘other age groups’.
- On 17 July, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced a reduction in the ‘recommended isolation period for patients with confirmed Covid-19 infection’, from 14 to 10 days. However:
- 10 days is the period during which ‘a patient is still considered infectious’, and
- ‘should be distinguished from the point at which a patient is medically well enough to return to work’.
- On 18 July, the Minister issued a media statement expressing concern about South Africans ‘letting down their guard at a time when the spread of infection is surging’, referring to:
- ‘poor or no social distancing’
- masks being ‘abandoned or not worn properly’, and
- a ‘laxity setting in around frequent hand-washing’.
- The Minister’s 8 April directive has been withdrawn and replaced with one gazetted on 17 July, which:
- revises several directions in the 25 May directive
- spells out Covid-19 symptom screening and quarantine measures affecting:
- anyone entering SA
- international air crew
- medical evacuation flight operators
- the crew of cargo and passenger ships when in port
- maritime evacuation operators
- fishing vessel operators
- all persons responsible for on-board maritime safety, and
- cross-border truck operators
- allows a municipality or traditional authority to permit ‘more than one human remains to a maximum of three … to be buried in one grave’ should a cemetery’s carrying capacity ‘be exceeded as a result of Covid-19 deaths’
- requires private and government mortuary operators to make ‘additional mortuary capacity and multi-transportation for mortal remains’ available ‘should the need arise’
- spells out how health care waste should be dealt with at quarantine and treatment facilities, and
- reminds quarantine and isolation facility personnel that ‘all medical equipment … must be sterilised first before it can be used again’.
- On 14 July, the Competition Commission released a report on food prices during the Covid-19 State of Disaster, which:
- are beginning to ‘stabilise’ following rapid increases under lockdown level five.
- A media statement on the report noted that:
- ‘farmers appear to be exposed to almost all the price movement risk’
- ‘most of the profits lie with agents, distributors, food companies and retailers’, and
- food prices increase more rapidly than they stabilise.
- The statement refers to the possibility of investigations into these issues.
DEVELOPMENTS UNRELATED TO THE COVID-19 STATE OF DISASTER
- Responding to Competition Commission concerns about the ‘exclusionary and anti-competitive manner’ in which the ‘conveyancing practices’ of banks are structured, several leading banks have agreed to:
- review ‘indefinite’ conveyancing agreements
- ‘possibly’ to ‘appoint new conveyancers annually’
- ‘remove the minimum investment criteria on attorney performance scorecards’, and
- ‘remove restrictions on law firms to litigate against banks for matters not related to conveyancing’.
- This was announced in a media statement in which Justice & Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola described the move as a significant step towards transformation in the legal profession.
Energy and the environment
- Four documents have been gazetted for public comment.
- Three focus on identifying geographical areas important for the development of infrastructure for:
- The fourth notice proposes an amendment to the procedures followed in ‘applying for or deciding on an environmental authorisation application for large scale wind and solar photovoltaic renewable energy development activities when occurring in renewable energy development zones’.
Prepared by Pam Saxby
About this blog
"That week in Parliament" is a series of blog posts in which the important Parliamentary events of the week are discussed.