26 July 2021
From the Government Gazette and Media Statements (26 July 2021)
- According to Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola, ‘in collaboration with the South African Police Service emerging cases will be divided into four categories’:
- ‘actual looters and persons participating in stealing from shops and outlets’
- ‘persons found in possession of stolen property’
- ‘groups and individuals stealing property in … (large) quantities (by way of) … organised or planned action’, and
- ‘inciting public violence’.
- Rules under the 1964 Customs and Excise Act affecting goods sorted and repacked when in transit through SA were amended on 23 July to provide for unforeseen interruptions ‘where goods are in danger of being unlawfully removed, damaged or destroyed’.
- The eased restrictions and return to adjusted lockdown level three announced on 25 July in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address to the nation were confirmed a few hours later in revised disaster management regulations among other things permitting (using the President’s words):
- ‘interprovincial travel for leisure’
- the reopening of ‘non-essential establishments like restaurants, taverns, bars and fitness centres, which should close by 21:00 to allow employees and patrons to travel home before the start of the curfew at 22:00
- religious services, political events and social gatherings, ‘limited to a maximum of 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors’ and noting that:
- where a venue is ‘too small to accommodate these numbers with appropriate social distancing’, no more than 50% of its capacity may be used, and that
- ‘the limits on venue capacity also apply to restaurants, gyms, fitness centres, bars, taverns and similar places’
- ‘attendance at funerals and cremations, which may not exceed 50 people’ (‘night vigils and after-funeral gatherings are still not allowed’)
- ‘the sale of alcohol from retail outlets for off-site consumption … between 10:00 and 18:00 from Monday to Thursday’
- ‘alcohol sales for on-site consumption … as per licence conditions, up to 20:00’, and
- schools to reopen as planned on 26 July.
- The President’s announcements on several other interventions now under way are expected to be confirmed shortly by the Cabinet Ministers concerned. These are that:
- the R350 per month social relief of distress grant will be reinstated ‘until the end of March 2022’
- unemployed caregivers receiving a child support grant may also apply for a social relief of distress grant
- Government will contribute R400m to the Solidarity Fund to provide additional food relief to communities in crisis
- Government will set aside funds dedicated to supporting ‘uninsured businesses … affected by the violence’
- a ‘once-off business survival funding mechanism’ will be introduced to assist small, medium and micro enterprises ‘affected by the pandemic’
- the employment tax incentive will be extended ‘for a period of four months’ to:
- ‘include any employee earning below R6 500’ per month, and to
- ‘increase the incentive amount by up to R750 per month’
- employer PAYE tax liabilities will be deferred for three months, ‘with an automatic deferral of 35% for employers with revenue below R100m’, and
- ‘the payment of excise taxes by the alcohol sector will be deferred for a period of three months.’
- On 20 July, a ministerial directive was gazetted prescribing the circumstances in which employees may qualify for temporary employer/employee relief scheme (Ters) benefits during the recently announced extension.
- A new ministerial directive has been issued on measures to be taken at correctional centres and remand detention facilities. Gazetted on 21 July, it:
- covers each lockdown level, as adjusted, and
- prescribes the restrictions applicable to hotspot areas.
- The 6 July ministerial directive on measures to contain the spread of the virus across the sport, arts and culture sectors was amended on 19 July to align adjusted lockdown level four measures with the disaster management regulations in place at the time. This may need to be revised in the light of South Africa’s return to adjusted lockdown level three.
SOUTH AFRICAN LAW REFORM COMMISSION
- On 21 July, a discussion paper on ‘state maternity and parental benefits’ for informal sector workers was released for public comment.
- On 23 July, a memorandum of understanding on uniform procurement was gazetted as the next step in efforts to contain the spiralling cost of these and other items suppled to learners at public schools.
Prepared by Pam Saxby
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"That week in Parliament" is a series of blog posts in which the important Parliamentary events of the week are discussed.