Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has published a government gazette that updates South Africa’s rules around gatherings during the Covid-19 lockdown period.
The gazette states that gatherings of community engagements are permitted by the following groups of people to deal with emergency matters:
- Members of Parliament;
- Members of the provincial legislatures;
- Leaders of political parties;
- Religious leaders;
- Traditional leaders.
The gazette also exempts these members from the lockdown rules around travelling and curfew, provided it is done as part of oversight responsibilities and community engagements.
While it is not clear why the change is being made, it is likely a response to the ongoing looting and violence being seen in Gauteng and KZN, with president Cyril Ramaphosa meeting with several leaders this week in an effort to help quell the issue.
“President Cyril Ramaphosa has embarked on a round of consultations with the leadership of different sectors of society to develop a society-wide response to the violence and destruction affecting many parts of the country,” the presidency said on Tuesday evening.
“This outreach supplements the mobilisation of the South African Police Service, the South African National Defence Force and other law enforcement bodies to prevent public violence, loss of life and damage to property.”
On Tuesday, Ramaphosa chaired the meeting of the National Security Council to assess developments around the country and coordinate the government’s security response – including intelligence gathering – to the widespread criminality.
He also met with religious leaders from different faith communities. On Wednesday morning, the president will have a consultation with leaders of political parties, the presidency said.
“Government leaders are also engaging with informal and small business associations, community leaders, traditional leaders and others, particularly in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.”