15 February 2021
From the Government Gazette and Media Statements (15 February 2021)
COVID-19 STATE OF DISASTER
- On 11 February, the State of Disaster was extended to 15 March.
- On 13 February, more changes were made to the disaster management regulations for Covid-19 adjusted lockdown level three (as amended on 1 February):
- On 12 February, a consolidated ministerial directive was gazetted prescribing measures to be taken by reopening state-run schools during adjusted lockdown level three. It covers:
- the minimum health, safety and social distancing requirements to be met before a school or hostel may reopen
- the procedures to be followed should a school or hostel not be ready to reopen
- a school’s obligations when a learner is unable to return to school:
- in certain Covid-19-related circumstances
- when a learner’s parents, a designated family member or a caregiver choose to withdraw that learner and make alternative arrangements
- on-site symptom screening
- the steps to be taken when a learner, educator or other official is screened for Covid-19 symptoms at school and found to display them
- disinfection procedures
- the procedures to be followed when an application is made for a learner to be exempted or partially exempted from compulsory school attendance
- the status of exemptions or partial exemptions granted last year
- timetable models
- curriculum ‘trimming’ and reorganisation
- the supply of masks and, in the case of special needs schools, other personal protective equipment
- the requirements to be met when screening special needs learners for Covid-19 symptoms
- measures to be taken during sport and extra-curricular activities, and
- the permits required by officials commuting during curfew hours.
- Regarding relief for creative, cultural/heritage and sports industry stakeholders, a ministerial statement was issued on 5 February:
- announcing the third phase of disbursements
- prescribing the criteria to be met and documents required when applying for a once-off grant of ‘not less than R10 000’, and
- confirming that an ‘artist wellness programme’ will soon be introduced, focusing on:
- the ‘emotional and psychological’ effects of the epidemic
- personal and business financial management
- ‘lifestyle management’, and
- legal support.
- The national minimum wage will be R21.69 for each ‘ordinary hour’ worked from 1 March and will also apply to farm workers, according to a notice gazetted on 8 February also prescribing:
- minimum learnership allowances, and
- the minimum rates of pay for:
- domestic workers
- contract cleaners
- wholesale and retail employees, and
- the participants in expanded public works programmes.
- A separate Government Gazette notice published the same day announced the new threshold above which employees are excluded from certain sections of the 1997 Basic Conditions of Employment Act. From 1 March this will be R211 596.30.
- The Department of Mineral Resources & Energy has been authorised to ‘deviate’ from broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) codes of good practice when procuring 2 000MW of new generation capacity through its risk mitigation independent power producer procurement programme. However:
- it should be able to demonstrate how the programme nevertheless continues to ‘promote the objectives of the B-BBEE Act specifically and transformation in general’, and
- where South African skills and relevant local technologies are available, the department should ‘favour bids that exceed the baseline in respect of local content and job creation (targets), particularly where designated groups will benefit through jobs, management positions and procurement spending’.
- A proposed new policy on admission to state-run schools was gazetted on 10 February for comment. As the basis on which a governing body should determine its school admission policy, among other things the document:
- prescribes the requirements to be met by learners who are not South African citizens
- deals with the language of education and related admission obligations
- notes the rights of learners in specific situations, including non-payment of fees
- sets limitations on grade repetition, and
- prohibits ‘the practice of automatic promotion’.
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.