08 June 2020

Covid State State of Disaster and Lockdown Regulations: Update (8 June 2020)

State of Disaster

On 4 June, Cabinet announced its decision to extend the State of Disaster by one month to 15 July. The extension was gazetted on 5 June.

Reopening schools

  • Amendments to the 29 May ministerial directive on reopening schools under Covid-19 lockdown level three were gazetted on 1 June, among other things allowing:
    • any school meeting all the necessary requirements to ‘deviate’ from dates prescribed for the return to class of specific grades – but only if authorised to do so
    • school aftercare facilities to reopen, and
    • arrangements to be made for learners at any schools remaining closed to ‘receive ongoing teaching and learning’ until they reopen.
  • According to a media statement issued on 7 June:
    • ‘about 95%’ of schools were ready to open on 8 June
    • no school will resume teaching and learning if not ready to do so
    • learners affected by schools remaining closed will be catered for using ‘alternative measures’ developed by different districts, such as:
      • ‘temporarily using neighbouring schools’
      • using underutilised spaces in boarding schools, and
      • ‘camps’.

Zero-rated access to educational and health-related websites

  • Criteria to be met and procedures followed by websites applying for the zero-rating of access to their content during the Covid-19 State of Disaster are set out in a ministerial directive gazetted on 5 June.
  • The new directive builds on the contents of a 26 March directive amended on 6 April and 8 May.


Reopening workplaces

  • Occupational health and safety measures applicable to reopening workplaces during the Covid-19 State of Disaster are ‘consolidated’ in a new ministerial directive gazetted on 4 June. Among other things, it sets out:
    • the procedures to be followed by an employee refusing to perform a task that could increase the risk of exposure to Covid-19
    • the process to be followed when preparing a workplace plan, and
    • related measures, including those focusing on:
      • social distancing
      • health and safety, and
      • ventilation
    • the requirements of sector-specific protocols and guidelines.


Public transport

  • Measures to be taken on board commercial passenger aircraft featured in a speech delivered on 3 June by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula during an inspection of OR Tambo International Airport. However, they are not included in the 30 May amendment to his 31 March directive on air services.
  • According to the Minister:
    • the ‘the last row’ of seats in an aircraft cabin will be ‘reserved for (the) isolation of suspected (Covid-19) cases’
    • otherwise, commercial airliners will be allowed to carry their full passenger complement
    • in-flight catering and on-board magazines will be prohibited
    • boarding will begin with passengers allocated ‘rear seats’, working towards the front
    • ‘baggage wrapping’ will be ‘compulsory for all check-in luggage’
    • ‘masks must be worn for the duration of the flight’, and
    • aircraft ‘must be disinfected before entering into service and after each flight’.
  • Each airport operating during lockdown level three is expected to have a ‘public health plan’ in place.


Access to living annuities

  • On 1 June, two notices were gazetted ‘expanding’ access to living annuity funds as one of the economic support measures announced on 24 April by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni. They confirm:
    • the new upper and lower drawdown limits, and
    • the lump sum withdrawal threshold.

Justice services

  • The annexure to a ministerial directive gazetted on 2 June lists the services permitted under lockdown level three, among other things:
    • limiting the criminal matters on which trials may be held
    • restricting civil motion applications and trials to those understood to be ‘urgent’, and
    • confirming that legal practitioners may offer any services not prohibited by the 28 May disaster management regulations.


Financial services

  • The exemption from paying VAT on imported essential goods on arrival in SA expired on Friday, according to a notice gazetted on 3 June by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition. The purpose of the exemption was to provide some relief to businesses importing goods declared ‘essential’ under the 25 March disaster management regulations. Now that the economy is re-opening, it is no longer considered necessary.
  • As one of the steps taken by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority to avoid an ‘economic catastrophe’ during the Covid-19 epidemic, companies listed on the main board of the JSE may now issue ‘shares for cash resolution’ with the written consent of shareholders, without calling a general meeting. This was announced last week in a notice dated 28 May.
  • The 1 June commencement of Chapter 14 of the 2017 Financial Sector Regulation Act (ombuds) has been postponed to 1 November (possibly because of Covid-19 lockdown measures, although this is not clear).


Forestry, fisheries, biodiversity and the environment

  • Four ministerial directives gazetted on 5 June clarify:
    • activities allowed under lockdown level in the forestry, fisheries and biodiversity sectors, and
    • responsibilities related to processes regulated by the 1998 National Environmental Management Act, 2004 National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act, 2008 National Environmental Management: Waste Act and the 2017 waste tyre regulations.
    • The notices confirm the contents of a 1 June Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries media statement.
    • Culling and subsistence hunting are allowed, but professional game hunting is not.



Rhinoceros horn

  • Three notices gazetted on 3 June but not yet in force:
    • prohibit ‘certain restricted activities’ involving rhino horn derivatives less than 5cm long, regardless of weight
    • Further regulate the exchange of and trade in derivatives greater than 5cm in length – adding the eastern black rhino to the list of endangered species, and
    • set out transitional arrangements where restricted activities involving the eastern black rhino are being carried out without the necessary permit.

Prepared by Pam Saxby

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