31 August 2020

COVID-19 State of Disaster and Other Developments: Update (31 August 2020)


Post-school education and training


  • On 26 August, Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister Blade Nzimande confirmed that:
    • ‘from 1 September’, ‘up to 66%’ students will be permitted to return to campus, with priority given to:
      • students allowed to return under lockdown level three but prevented from doing so because of capacity constraints
      • ‘students in all years of study’ requiring:
        • access to laboratories and technical equipment to complete the academic year
        • practical placements, or
        • experiential/workplace-based learning opportunities, and
      • first year students in all undergraduate programmes.
  • Measures to be taken under each lockdown level are spelled out in a directive issued on 8 June.
  • According to the Minister:
    • the 2020 academic year is expected to be completed ‘by the end of February 2021’, and
    • the new academic year will begin on dates ‘ranging from 15 March to 15 April’.
  • In the same statement, the Minister:
    • confirmed that the four-month skills levy ‘holiday’ (introduced in May as an economic relief measure) will end on 31 August, and said that:
      • employers are expected to ‘prioritise skills development’ under lockdown level two, and that
      • the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) and sector education and training authorities (Setas) are exploring ways of ‘mitigating’ the decline in skills levy contributions (which has ‘huge implications’ for ‘various learning programmes’).
  • Regarding plans to provide National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) students at technical and vocational education and training colleges with digital learning devices:
    • ‘none of the bids’ received when the tender opened fulfilled the ‘mandatory requirements’, so
    • the tender process will be started ‘afresh’, and
    • once a suitable supplier has been found, devices will be delivered directly to eligible students at their home addresses.




  • The ministerial directives on public transport and air services were amended on 25 August and aligned with disaster management regulations for lockdown level two.
  • Regarding public transport:
    • inter-provincial journeys are permitted, subject to long- and short-distance loading capacity percentages set out in a directive issued on 22 July, which
    • applies to all land passenger transport including:
      • privately owned vehicles, and
      • railway carriages.
  • The transportation of liquor is once again permitted.
  • What are generally understood to be standard health, safety, hygiene and physical distancing protocols should be observed.
  • Regarding air services:
    • A directive gazetted on 25 August lists the airports now open for domestic flights.




  • A ministerial directive issued on 25 August:
    • spells out measures to be taken at reopening ‘places of attraction’ (which are defined)
    • wedding, exhibition and other function venues, and in
    • the foyers and reception areas of accommodation establishments.
  • It also:
    • specifies that ‘self-drive excursions must comply with any directions … issued in respect of private vehicles’, and that
    • during aquatic activities, ‘where … wearing … a face mask may create a safety risk’, physical distancing requirements should be observed ‘on or in the water’.
  • What are generally understood to be standard health, safety, hygiene and physical distancing protocols should be observed.


Sport, arts and culture


  • On 28 August, a ministerial directive was gazetted replacing most key directions in a directive issued on 11 June (and already changed twice). It applies to ‘all sporting, recreational and entertainment activities, including the arts’.
  • Regarding sporting activities, the new directive:
    • aligns the list of venues and facilities now permitted to reopen with those featured in the disaster management regulations for lockdown level two
    • provides more detail on:
      • procedures to be followed and measures taken when:
        • screening and testing players and support staff
        • disinfecting and cleaning a sports venue
        • controlling access to a venue
        • monitoring compliance, and
        • appealing a decision made by the Minister, and
    • spells out the measures to be taken at reopening:
      • fitness centres and gyms
      • sports grounds and fields
      • swimming pools,
      • beaches, and
      • public parks.
  • Regarding arts and cultural activities, the new directive:
    • sets out measures to be taken by reopening:
    • archives
    • galleries
    • libraries, and
    • museums.


Home Affairs


  • The list of services available at these offices was extended in a ministerial directive gazetted on 25 August.
  • Amending the list included in directions issued on 9 May (already amended on 10 June), the new directive confirms that Home Affiars offices now accept applications for:
    • first-issue IDs
    • the re-issue of temporary ID certificates (where these have expired during the State of Disaster)
    • ‘back office’ record retrievals services’, and
    • changes to ‘personal particulars’.




Films and publications


  • The deadline has been extended to 27 September for public comment on draft films and publications amendment regulations gazetted in July.
  • Once finalised, they will operationalise the 2019 Films and Publications Amendment Act and are expected to:
    • curb the distribution of films, games and publications containing images or scenes of child pornography, and
    • reduce children’s exposure to ‘disturbing and harmful content’, especially online and by way of social media platforms.




  • Independent power producers with ‘dispatchable’ ‘technical solutions’ to SA’s ongoing power supply constraints have been invited to submit their proposals.
  • The 2000 MW to be procured ‘from a range of … sources and technologies’ is also expected to ‘reduce the utilisation of diesel-based peaking electrical generators’.


Greenhouse gas emissions


  • Draft technical guidelines for validating and verifying greenhouse gas emissions data have been gazetted for comment.


Prepared by Pam Saxby

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