Government gazettes revised regulations as COVID-19 cases climb

Thursday, April 2, 2020

As South Africa marked day 7 of its 21-day national lockdown, government has announced revised regulations that govern this phase – all in a bid to flatten the Coronavirus infection curve.

South Africa now has 1 462 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with five recorded deaths. Two other deaths are yet to be confirmed. 

The amended regulations include the limitations on public transport, movement of people between provinces, movement of goods and repatriation of people across countries.

At a briefing held on Thursday in Tshwane, Ministers representing the Coronavirus National Command Council provided an update on the revised lockdown regulations.

The amendments come as government continues to refine the regulations of the lockdown following the declaration of COVID-19 as a National State of Disaster by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“We must state from the onset that the regulations will be amended and reviewed from time to time to deal with issues that arise during this period. Some of the things that happen, we may not have been aware of and we will have to strengthen and sometimes relax the regulations,” said Justice Minister Ronald Lamola.

Under the newly gazetted regulations, government has introduced revised regulations governing mass gatherings, particularly funerals.

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma outlined the revised rules, which allow those closest to the deceased to travel for the burial (including across provinces) and limits funeral capacity to 50 people.

The amendments allow certain individuals to move between provinces, metropolitan and district areas for the purposes of transporting a body for burial purposes.

The regulations now outline a process on how people -- who wish to travel between provinces or metropolitan and district areas to attend a burial or cremation -- can obtain a permit.

People allowed to travel for a deceased person’s funeral include a spouse or partner of the deceased; children of the deceased; children-in-law of the deceased; parents of the deceased; siblings; grandparents of the deceased and persons closely affiliated to the deceased.

Public transport

On matters relating to public transport, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has capped taxi loading capacity to 70% of the vehicle’s loading capacity.

The Minister, who had initially agreed for taxis to load 100% capacity - provided they provide passengers with masks - rescinded the decision with immediate effect Wednesday night.

The decision to rescind follows concerns raised about the 100% loading capacity going against the call for social distancing.

Suspend evictions   

In addition to amending regulations, government also appealed to municipalities and private property owners to suspend evictions during the current lockdown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The appeal follows a meeting between Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, leaders of community organisations and non-governmental organisations, wherein she was informed of ongoing evictions in the eThekwini Metro.

Fuel cargo and repatriation allowed

On amendments at Home Affairs, Minister Aaron Motsoaledi relaxed some regulations to allow for the movement of fuel cargo and goods and not just essential goods, as previously gazetted.  

“The second change is that the borders have been closed for people but now the amendment is that the Minister, or a person designated by him, may allow a person to enter or exit the Republic for emergency medical attention for a life threatening condition,” said the Motsoaledi.

Under these changes, repatriation between countries will be allowed. –