SA lockdown updates and changes announced

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minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

Today marks the end of SA’s initial 21-day lockdown, which has since been extended to the end of April.

Now, the government has decided to start easing the restrictions but also announced that essential service providers will be required to have a new certificate from the BizPortal website for the extended period. Speaking in an inter-ministerial committee meeting on the lockdown regulations, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said that the regulations that exist will be amended, while others will remain in place “for a long time”.  

As part of the amendments, the minister said the following:

  • On the sale of alcohol, Dlamini-Zuma said that “the only alcohol that is allowed to be transported is the one that is used for commercial purposes for our sanitizers and the related issues, but liquor that we drink is not allowed to be exported in the same way that it’s not allowed to be sold.”

  • The sale of precooked meals at supermarkets (hot roast chicken or pies) are prohibited. 

  • More call centres will be allowed to open as store credit cards are covered by insurance policies, and these need to be activated. Previously, only those necessary to provide “health, safety, social support, government and financial services, debt restructuring for consumers of retailers, and access to short-term insurance policies as a result of reduced income or loss of income" were allowed to operate during the lockdown.

  • Goods that are imported from high-risk areas will no longer need to be sanitized if they have been at sea for long periods of time. Additionally, goods sitting at ports for exportation should start being exported to avoid future congestion.

  • The regulations around funerals remain the same in terms of the documents needed to travel to and from the ceremony and that only 50 people would be allowed to attend.

  • Children who are subjected to co-parenting will be allowed to move between both parents - provided that there is a court order, a letter from a family advocate, or the birth certificate of the child to show his or her connection to both parents. 

  • Coal mines that supply to Eskom must be fully operational. Other mines will start operating again at 50% capacity, albeit under strict conditions around the screening of miners, the transport of workers to and from the mine, and the provision of quarantine facilities should a miner test positive for COVID-19.

  • Informal fishermen who sell their fish in rural communities will also be able to get back to work. 

  • Emergency workers will be able to get their cars repaired – and you can call out a locksmith, plumber or an electrician in case of an emergency.

  • Essential goods will now include the hardware, "components and supplies needed by tradespeople for emergency repairs at homes".

  • The hardware and supplies needed by institutions deemed essential, such as hospitals, may also be sold. 

  • Stores selling hardware products and vehicle components must maintain a register of persons buying essential goods and must keep a record of a signed declaration from the buyer that the goods are essential. 

  • Community watch groups will not be allowed to patrol their neighbourhoods despite several organisations calling for such changes. Police minister Bheki Cele says that there are two problems with the operation of these entities - there is no structure to hold them accountable for their actions, and unlike police and soldiers, they are not "vetted and known".

  • When asked whether there were any changes made to the ban on cigarettes, minister Jackson Mthembu answered “no” and left it at that.

Minister Dlamini-Zuma also cautioned against easing lockdown regulations too quickly, as this will open the ‘floodgates’ saying that “we are going to ease in an incremental orderly manner. Every week we will be announcing which areas will be opening.”

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