24 August 2020

COVID-19 State of Disaster and Lockdown Regulations: Update (24 August 2020)

Lockdown level 2

  • Regulations were gazetted on 17 August following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement two days earlier.
  • In addition to relaxing restrictions on certain economic and other activities during the extended State of Disaster, they:
    • set out factors to be considered by a court when determining whether to ‘suspend or stay’ an eviction or demolition order
    • make terminating a rental housing agreement an unfair practice in certain situations
    • require rental housing tribunals to ‘determine fair procedures’ for urgently hearing disputes, and
    • allow a tribunal to grant an ‘urgent ex parte spoliation order’, including one to restore the right to occupy a dwelling or access services (the term ‘spoliation’ is explained here).
  • According to a Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs media statement issued on 17 August, ‘restrictions on family and social visits will … be lifted’ and ‘small groups’ permitted to gather at a residence when ‘necessary’ on the understanding that ‘extreme caution’ is exercised.
  • A statement the same day from Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma refers to ‘social events at places of residence ... (of) no more than ten visitors’.
  • The Minister’s statement also confirms that:
    • ‘gyms and fitness centres are permitted to reopen … with strict health and safety protocols in place’
    • ‘parks, beaches and nature reserves will be open for outdoor activity’, and that
    • water sports are allowed.
  • Nightclubs are not permitted to operate under lockdown level two.
  • Adding in a new chapter to regulations gazetted on 29 April, the lockdown level two regulations refer to amendments since made on:
    • 28 May
    • 25 June, and
    • 12 July.


More relief for sport, arts and culture practitioners


  • Sport, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa issued a media statement on 18 August announcing that:
    • eligible individuals will receive once-off payments to cover the next three-month period
    • in partnership with the Department of Small Business Development, his department will offer special assistance to ‘craft, design and visual arts’ practitioners, and that
    • individuals meeting certain additional criteria and not already receiving social grants or unemployment benefits may also apply for Solidarity Fund vouchers to be redeemed ‘as cash or for food’.




  • On 21 August, proposed amendments to the 23 June ministerial directive on reopening public schools were gazetted for comment.
  • This is the first time members of the public have been invited to comment on a draft Covid-19 ministerial directive.
  • The amendments seek to:
    • provide for the ‘full or partial exemption’ of a special needs learner from compulsory school attendance
    • allow school hostels with facilities unable to meet social distancing requirements to remain open if:
      • alternative arrangements are made to provide ‘reasonable accommodation’ for all affected learners, or
      • the provincial department responsible provides the necessary ‘additional infrastructure’, and to
    • allow large school facilities to be opened to more than 50 people at a time if ‘all health, safety and social distancing requirements’ are observed.


Maritime transport


  • A ministerial directive was gazetted on 21 August:
    • setting out the procedures to be followed and arrangements made when:
      • a foreign crew is changed at a South African port, or
      • a passenger vessel or cruise ship disembarks:
        • returning South African crew, citizens or the holders of permanent residence permits, or
        • replenishes fuel, stores or provisions.
  • These activities are restricted to the ports of Durban and Cape Town.
  • The new directive amends directions in place since 5 May.



Workplace violence and harassment

  • On 20 August, a draft code of good practice was gazetted for comment, spelling out an employer’s obligations regarding:
    • the necessary rules, policies and procedures
    • treatment, care and support
    • whistleblowing
    • confidentiality
    • complaints procedures and disciplinary action, and
    • implementation monitoring and evaluation.


High-demand occupations

  • A preliminary list was gazetted on 17 August for comment. When finalised, it will:
    • inform post-school education and training planning
    • guide the development of new qualifications
    • assist in identifying existing qualifications needing to be updated
    • inform tertiary education institution enrolment planning, and
    • guide the development of career guidance programmes for learners and work-seekers.


Sugar industry


  • Following the release in June of a master plan for the industry, the South African Sugar Association has applied for an exemption from sections of the 1998 Competition Act prohibiting certain activities.
  • On 21 August, the Department of Economic Development gazetted a notice calling for comment on what is proposed with the aim of fulfilling commitments from sugar producers to:
    • exercise ‘price restraint’, and
    • support small-scale sugar cane growers.


Taxi industry


  • According to Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula’s speech at the launch of a ‘taxi lekgotla public discourse forum’ on 20 August, October’s national indaba is expected to reach consensus on:
    • a more effective ‘apex leadership structure’
    • ‘sustainable ways to formalise and regulate the industry’, and
    • ‘an economic empowerment model’ with a stable revenue source.
  • Other issues to be discussed include:
    • concerns about the ‘prevalence of illegal operators’
    • operating licences and law enforcement, and
    • transport planning.


Infrastructure development fund


  • On 17 August, National Treasury issued a media statement on a memorandum of understanding between:
  • the Development Bank of Southern Africa (making it responsible for establishing, managing and administering the fund)
  • Infrastructure SA (which will be tasked with ‘the development, assessment, management, … implementation and monitoring of a comprehensive infrastructure pipeline’), and
  • the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure.
  • Announced in September 2018 by President Cyril Ramaphosa as part of government’s economic stimulus and recovery plan at the time, the fund is a ‘financing facility for blended infrastructure projects’ combining public and private resources.


Prepared by Pam Saxby

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