New road rules for South Africa during level 4 lockdown

Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula has published a series of directives which amend South Africa’s road and transport rules during the coronavirus lockdown.

The directives – all of which were published on Monday (4 May) – primarily focus on expanding the current transport rules under the new level 4 lockdown.

Below are the most important points and how they impact travellers. All regulations can be found on the Government Printing Works site.


Licences 

Mbalula has extended the validity of all learner’s licence, driving licences, motor vehicle licence disks, temporary permits and roadworthy certificates that expired during the lockdown.

This extension grace period applies for the 30 days following the publishing of the directive (4 May).

The directive also states that a motor trade number licence that expired during the lockdown, is deemed to be valid and shall be extended for a further grace period of six months from the date of publication of these directions.

The directive also establishes sanitation rules for licencing centres, including:

  • All driving licence testing centres and vehicle testing centres must sanitise or provide hygiene dispenser for washing of hands for their client when entering their premises;
  • No person will be allowed to enter a building, place or premises if they do not wear a cloth face mask or a homemade item that covers nose and mouth;
  • All driving licence testing centres and vehicle testing ‘centres must put measures in place to adhere to physical distancing to curb the spread of the virus;
  • All driving licence testing centres and vehicle testing centres must put in place procedures for cleaning and disinfection of their premises.

Curfew

One of the directives also provides more clarity on the operating times for both public and private transport under the evening curfew.

As part of the country’s new level 4 lockdown, government has established a window period to allow South Africans to travel between provinces.

The special dispensation will be between 1 May 2020 and 7 May 2020, during which time South Africans are allowed to travel across provincial and municipal boundaries without a permit.

However, this led to clashes with the existing evening curfew which prohibits all South Africans from leaving their homes between 20h00 – 05h00 unless they are an essential service worker.

To remedy this issue, Mbalula has indicated that interprovincial travel by buses, taxis and private own vehicles are permitted and may continue to complete their journeys even during the declared curfew times.

He also provided more clarity on operating times during the curfew:

  • Intra-provincial, metropolitan areas and districts public transport is permitted to operate from 05h00 to 20h00 with a grace period of an hour within which to complete the journey and drop off at 21h00;
  • Intra-provincial, metropolitan areas and districts travel by private vehicle is permitted to operate from 05h00 to 20h00 with a grace period of an hour within which to complete the journey at 21h00;
  • The transportation of persons rendering essentials services or permitted service must be in line with the operating shifts, work time schedules as determined by the responsible head of operations, Manager, Head of the Department or a person with responsible authority within such institution;
  • The operating shifts or work schedules or time table should be stamped and signed by such person with authority as contemplated in direction 8(2) (a) above;
  • Hot food delivery services is permitted to start from 09h00 to 19h00.

Capacity

The updated capacity rules for vehicles is as follows:

  • Public Transport sedan vehicles are limited to carry not more than 50% of its permissible passenger carrying capacity, sedan vehicle with carrying capacity of five persons are allowed to carry two passengers plus a driver (three persons);
  • E- hailing, meter taxis, shuttle services, chauffeur driven vehicles are permitted to carry not more than 50% of their permissible passenger-carrying capacity;
  • Mini and Midibus Taxi vehicles must not carry more than 70% of their maximum licensed passenger-carrying capacity;
  • Buses are permitted to carry not more than 50% of their permissible passenger carrying capacity which includes both seating and standing passengers.

Read: Government is treating South Africans like ‘naughty children’

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New road rules for South Africa during level 4 lockdown