Prior to the start of South Africa’s coronavirus lockdown, the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) gazetted a list of essential goods which may continue to be sold during the lockdown period, as well as the essential services which are exempt from most lockdown restrictions.
On the goods side, the regulations state that all retail shops and shopping malls must be closed, except where these essential goods are sold. The regulations also state that stores will be prohibited from selling any other goods.
Businesses face strict punishments for breaching these prohibitions including a fine, or imprisonment of up to six months.
However, since this list of goods was gazetted nearly four weeks ago, government has introduced a number of new goods and revisions on what can and cannot be sold.
Below, law firm Werksmans Attorneys provided an updated list of essential goods as of Tuesday (21 April) alongside the measures businesses will have to follow when selling them.
- Any food product, including non-alcoholic beverages, but excluding cooked hot food;
- Animal food;
- Chemicals, packaging and ancillary products used in the production of any food product.
Cleaning and Hygiene Products
- Toilet Paper, sanitary pads, sanitary tampons, condoms;
- Hand sanitiser, disinfectants, soap, alcohol for industrial use, household cleaning products, and personal protective equipment; and (iii) Chemicals, packaging and ancillary products used in the production of any of the above;
- Products for the care of babies and toddlers. The products include baby clothes, blankets, towels and other essential accessories for new-borns, infants and toddlers up to 36 months old; and
- Personal toiletries, including hair-care, body and face washes, roll-ons, deodorants, toothpaste.
- Medical and Hospital Supplies, medicine, equipment and personal protective equipment; and
- Chemicals, packaging and ancillary products used in the production of any of the above.
- This includes gas and coal.
- This includes airtime, electricity and the withdrawal of cash;
Hardware and repairs
- Hardware, components and supplies required by any qualified tradespersons solely for the purpose of emergency repairs at residential homes;
- Hardware, components and supplies required by an entity engaged in the provision of essential services for any project related to the provision of water, electricity or other essential services;
- Components for vehicles under-going emergency repairs where such vehicles are used by persons engaged in essential services work.
The regulations make it clear that stores selling hardware products and vehicle components must maintain a register of persons buying essential goods listed and must keep a record of a signed declaration, which corresponds with the buyer of goods attesting that the goods are essential goods as defined in the regulations.
- Information and Communication Technology devices (such as desktops, laptops, modems and other devices) for education purposes;
- Gases, liquids and chemicals used in the preservation of biological samples and maintenance of equipment and machinery; and
- Animal feed for laboratory and farm animals.
Government has made a number of changes to its ‘essential service’ regulations since the start of South Africa’s coronavirus lockdown.
In terms of the regulations, personnel that are deemed ‘essential’ will be exempted from the stay-home provisions as they are vital for continued functioning of these companies during the lockdown.
Below, law firm Werksmans Attorneys provided an updated list of essential servicesas of Tuesday (21 April) alongside the measures these businesses will have to follow.
- Medical, health (including mental health), laboratory and medical services and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases;
- Disaster management, fire prevention, fire fighting and emergency services;
- Financial services, including services in the banking, payment, financial market, insurance savings & investment, pension fund, and medical aid industries.
- Services necessary for the provision of social grants;
- The production and sale of essential goods;
- Grocery stores, and wholesale produce markets, including spaza shops, informal fruit and vegetable sellers and langanas with written permission from a municipal authority to operate;
- Electricity (including vital demand management services), water gas and fuel production, supply and maintenance;
- Critical jobs for essential government services;
- Birth and death certificates, and replacement identification documents;
- Essential municipal services;
- Care services and social relief of distress provided to older persons, the mentally ill, persons with disabilities, the sick, and children;
- Funeral and cremation services, including mortuaries services and the transportation of mortal remains;
- Wildlife Management, anti-poaching, animal care and veterinary services;
- Newspaper, broadcasting and telecommunication infrastructure and services including call centres critical for the support of such services;
- Production and sale of any chemicals, hygiene products, pharmaceuticals for the medical or retail sector;
- Cleaning, sanitation, pest control, sewerage, waste and refuse removal services;
- Services related to the essential functioning of courts, judicial officers, the Master of the High Court, Sheriffs and legal practitioners required for those services;
- Essential SARS services defined by the Commissioner of SARS;
- Police, peace officers, traffic officers, military medical personnel and soldiers, correctional services officials and traffic management services;
- Postal services and courier services related to the transport of medical products;
- Private security services;
- Air-traffic Navigation, Civil Aviation Authority, air charters, Cargo Shipping and dockyard services;
- Gold, gold refinery, coal and mining;
- Accommodation used for persons rendering essential services, quarantine, isolation and the lockdown;
- Production, manufacturing, supply, logistics, transport, delivery, critical maintenance and repair in relation to the rendering of essential services including components and equipment;
- Transport services for persons rendering essential services and goods, and transportation of patients;
- Services rendered by the executive, members of parliament, members of the provincial legislature, members of local councils, the judiciary, and traditional leaders.
- Transport and logistics in respect of cargo and goods to neighbouring countries;
- Tow trucks and vehicle recovery services;
- Call centres necessary to provide health, safety, social support, government and financial services, debt restructuring for consumers of retails, and access to short-term insurance policies as a result of reduced income or loss of income;
- Harvesting and storage activities essential to prevent the wastage of primary agricultural goods;
- Implementation of payroll systems to the extent that such arrangement has not been made for the lockdown, to ensure timeous payments to workers;
- Critical maintenance services which cannot be delayed for more than 21 days and are essential to resume operations after the lockdown;
- Trades necessary for the rendering of emergency repair work, including plumbers, electricians, locksmiths, glaziers, roof repair work;
- Trades necessary for emergency automobile repairs for persons rendering essential services;
- Information and Communication Technology services rendered to entities and institutions engaged in delivering essential services;
- Road services including: tollgate operators, road emergency operators, employees responsible for safe operation of the roads; and rail logistic operators.
Companies which have been registered through the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission’s (CIPC) BizPortal to perform essential services during the lockdown period, will be required to have a new certificate from the BizPortal website for the extended period of the lockdown.
These certificates were sent via email to businesses that had already applied to the CIPC during the first phase of the lockdown.
The new certificate will clearly state it is valid from 17 April 2020. Old certificates must be discarded. The new certificates will be available to be displayed from start of business on Monday (20 April 2020).
The DTI has also indicated that the registration portal is only for companies registered in terms of the Companies Act.
Other essential service providers, such as healthcare professional, sole providers (which includes Spaza shops etc.) and small scale farmers will not have a certificate, but must still comply with the regulations – taking into account the amendments.