07 September 2020

COVID-19 State of Disaster and Other Developments: Update (7 September 2020)



  • A ministerial directive gazetted on 2 September:
    • clarified that privately owned vehicles are permitted to carry ‘their maximum licensed passenger capacity’ (amending a directive issued on 25 August), and
    • extended the validity of:
      • expired public transport operating licences, and
      • expired tourist and charter transport accreditation certificates.
  • A separate ministerial directive also issued on 2 September confirmed that domestic long-distance train journeys are permitted.




  • The Department of Sport, Arts & Culture issued a media statement on 3 September regarding:
    • a ‘safety plan’ developed by the South African Communication Industries Association for live events, and
    • a proposal that:
      • more than 50 participants should be allowed at events in venues large enough to comply with physical distancing requirements
      • ‘electronic capacity monitoring systems’ be used to track the number of participants in a large event, and that
      • on-site alcohol consumption should be permitted at events with 300 participants or fewer.
  • A decision is expected by 15 September.


Correctional centres


  • On 4 September, a ministerial directive was gazetted allowing:
    • inmates to receive:
      • one non-contact visit per month from a member of the public, and
      • non-contact consultations with legal practitioners
    • the transfer of inmates between facilities
    • inmates to be referred to external healthcare service providers
    • parolees and probationers at community corrections offices to be:
      • released, and
      • community services programmes to be resumed
    • visits to correctional centres from:
      • essential service providers, and
      • external non-essential health care providers, and
    • judicial statutory oversight inspections to resume.



Electronic communications


  • The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) issued a media statement on 4 September calling for input from stakeholders on the impact of the Covid-19 epidemic on the electronic communications market.
  • This will be factored into the process of finalising the ‘invitation to apply’ for high-demand radio frequency spectrum.
  • The invitation to apply will be published ‘no later than 30 September’.
  • The high-demand radio frequency spectrum auction will be completed ‘by no later than 31 March 2021’.
  • A ‘reasons document’ will be released with the invitation to apply, outlining:
    • Icasa’s position on ‘empowerment’ and other obligations to be imposed on successful bidders, which will include:
      • ‘support’ for the wireless open access network (in the form of at least ‘30% national capacity’ procurement), and
      • ‘support’ for mobile virtual network operators.


Scrap metal


  • There have been two developments in the process of improving the instruments used to ensure a reliable, affordable supply of high quality ferrous and non-ferrous waste and scrap to local mini-mills and foundries for beneficiation:
  • On 1 September, the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition called for public comment on draft amendments to policy guidelines on the price preference system.
  • Amendments were gazetted on 2 September to the 3 July ministerial directive prohibiting the export of specific categories of ferrous and non-ferrous waste and scrap during the Covid-19 State of Disaster. These amendments:
    • allow the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa to consider applications to export ‘certain grades’ of scrap not required for domestic processing at the time of applying, and
    • suspend the operation of the price preference system and guidelines for until 2 October.


  • Stakeholders have been given more time to comment on the Competition Commission’s forestry sector vertical integration preliminary findings report, which includes recommendations among other things:
    • making it mandatory for ‘larger integrated forestry firms’ to notify the Commission of all plantation acquisitions
    • requiring the Commission, when considering merger applications, to ensure:
      • ‘continued access to log supply’ by black-owned and other downstream processing small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and
    • introducing measures to ‘support’ collaboration among SMEs on log supply security, joint innovation and investment.

Financial sector


  • The Financial Sector Laws Amendment Bill now before Parliament includes proposals for a deposit insurance scheme. With that in mind:
    • the South African Reserve Bank has called for comment on a discussion document outlining the funding model envisaged.


Prepared by Pam Saxby

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