Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has gazetted an extension to South Africa’s national state of disaster.
The extension means that the state of disaster will now run until 15 September 2021.
“The extension takes into account the need to continue augmenting the existing legislation and contingency arrangements undertaken by organs of state and all other role players to mitigate against the impact of the disaster on lives and livelihoods,” Dlamini Zuma said in an accompanying statement.
“All people are urged to continue adherence to regulations under Alert Level 3 in an effort to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.
“Everyone has to wear a mask at all times, social distance, avoid large crowds and gatherings, and wash hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.”
South Africa declared a national state of disaster under Section 27(1) and Section 27(2) of the Disaster Management Act on 15 March 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
While the state of disaster was originally set to lapse on 15 June 2020, the act provides that it can be extended by the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) minister by notice in the gazette for one month at a time before it lapses.
The government has relied on the state of disaster to introduce and give effect to lockdown restrictions, which it has used to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, it has also faced criticism for giving national government wide-ranging powers over the lives of citizens, with almost no limits, and little to no oversight from parliament.
The opposition Democratic Alliance has called on president Cyril Ramaphosa to submit any possible extension of the national state of disaster to Parliament for approval and review.