The Department of Co-operative Government and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) has published amendments to South Africa’s lockdown regulations, clarifying a number of key points for businesses and individuals.
One of the biggest changes relates to regulation 11B which states that all businesses must cease operations, except if they are classified as one of the key essential services.
This caused confusion and apprehension amongst businesses as it effectively prohibited employees from working from home. The amendments have now confirmed that this was simply an oversight and now indicate that South Africans can continue to remotely from their normal place of residence.
Some of the other notable amendments include:
- Businesses should have measures in place for essential maintenance and care – and work done in this regard is considered an essential service. If the minister for trade and industry promulgates regulations in this respect, that should be adhered to;
- The list of essential services has been expanded – and now includes, “critical maintenance services which cannot be delayed for more than 21 days and are essential to resume operations after the lockdown”. Certain call-centres, harvesting and other agricultural activities, certain financial services, and several other business-activities are now allowed;
- Private vehicles shall not carry more than 60% of the licensed capacity, and that all directions in respect of hygienic conditions and the limitation of exposure of persons to Covid-19, are adhered to;
- Restaurants are now included in Annexure D of the regulation, classifying them as closed to the public. Civil society group, Sakeliga noted that this is an opportunity for government to permit restaurants to prepare food for delivery – as was the case even under strict measures imposed in China.
The changes come after South Africa announced its first coronavirus-relates deaths while confirmed cases have topped 1,000.
The two deaths occurred in the Western Cape, one at a private hospital and the other at a public hospital. Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said that more information would follow soon.
“We will give more details later on, when we announce the latest confirmed Covid-19 cases, which have increased from yesterday’s number and have now tipped the 1,000 mark,” he said.
The number of confirmed cases are expected to increase over the next weeks as government moves to rapidly ramp up testing capacity and identify hard-hit areas.
You can read the amendments below: