In a national address on Monday (1 February), president Cyril Ramaphosa announced that government would ease lockdown restrictions as the country has seen a steady decline in Covid-19 cases and hospital admissions.
In an accompanying gazette published by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, government further clarified the exact rules around the relaxed level 3 lockdown and what South Africans can and cannot do.
Among the key changes are new curfew hours and rules around the movement of people.
The gazette states that every person is confined to their place of residence from 23h00 until 04h00 daily, unless a person is performing an essential service or has an emergency. People travelling on late-night flights have also been given exemption.
In addition, the gazette also regulates the sale of liquor by licensed premises for off-site consumption is permitted from 10h00 to 18h00, from Mondays to Thursdays. excluding Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.
The sale of liquor by licensed premises for on-site consumption is permitted, from 10h00 to 22h00.
As part of the directive, Dlamini-Zuma also outlined some of the ‘specific exclusions’ which remain prohibited. These include:
- Night vigils;
- After-funeral gatherings, including ‘after tears’ gatherings;
- All social gatherings;
- Night clubs;
- Land borders remain closed
- Initiation practices;
- Passenger ships for international leisure purposes;
- Attendance of any sporting events by spectators;
- Any additional specific exclusions which have ben set out by the Minister of Education and Minister of Transport.
Working from home
The gazette also includes a specific section on employees and working from home.
It states that all persons who are able to work from home must do so. However, it notes that persons will be permitted to perform any type of work outside the home, and to travel to and from work and for work purposes, subject to:
- Strict compliance with health protocols and social distancing measures;
- The return to work being phased-in in order to put in place measures to make the workplace Covid-19 ready:
- The return to work being done in a manner that avoids and reduces risks of infection:
- The work is not listed under any of the above specific economic exclusions.
Data published y global advisory firm Willis Towers Watson in December shows that South African businesses predict that in three years’ time a third of their staff (33%) will still be working from home.
A total of 66 employers in South Africa, who have around 207,000 employees, participated in the firm’s flexible work survey, which was conducted in September and October 2020.
The survey shows that, although some workers will head back to the office once it is safer to do so, remote working, which was used by just 4% of staff in South Africa three years ago, is seen as a long-term strategic change.
“The sudden boom in home working will become a permanent shift with many benefits for businesses and their staff,” said Melanie Trollip, director of Talent and Reward at Willis Towers Watson South Africa.
“Businesses see that, in a world beyond Covid, flexible working arrangements can boost productivity, attract talent, and support diversity. The challenge for businesses now is to rethink how work is designed and rewarded so they can improve performance, and control costs and risks.”