As we begin the first day of this 21 day national lockdown, aimed at ‘flattening the curve
of infection’ so our healthcare system can handle the influx of cases, we wanted to
provide you with a brief summary of the latest lockdown regulations.
At time of sending there were over 1000 confirmed positive cases of coronavirus in South
Africa with 12 recovered and 2 deaths. There were 549 481 confirmed cases around the
world, with 128 701 recovered and 24 883 deaths.
Please note, the SA Jewish Board of Deputies (Cape Council) cannot be held liable for any
loss or harm arising from the content hereof and has produced this guideline to assist; It is
suggested that if decisions are made based on this guideline, professional advice in the
relevant field be sought.
On 25 March 2020, the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Mr
Dlamini Zuma, issued a set of new lockdown regulations that amended and added to
previous regulations in terms of the Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002.
As I am sure you are well aware, all South Africans are confined to their homes during this
period of lockdown, unless they are preforming an ‘essential service’ or embarking on a
specific errand, such as purchasing an ‘essential good’; collecting a social grant or seeking
emergency medical attention. A failure to follow these rules can result in a fine,
imprisonment of not more than 6 months, or both.
Amongst others, which will be dealt with below, these new regulations delegate authority
to perform specific functions to various organs of state; add to and expand on certain
definitions (such as what constitutes a ‘gathering’); and, provide for forced quarantining
of infected or suspected to be infected persons by means of a court order.
These regulations also outline what constitutes an ‘essential good’ and an ‘essential
service’, a clarification much anticipated over the last week.
Examples of essential goods include: food products (including non-alcoholic beverages);
animal food; toilet paper; soap; hand sanitiser; household cleaning products; fuel; airtime;
data; and, medical and hospital supplies.
Essential services, include: medical, health and laboratory services; fire fighting and
emergency services; the police and military; postal services; transport services for those
rendering essential services and goods or transporting patients; refuse removal and
sanitation services; private security services; funeral services and those who are involved
in social relief of distress for the sick, elderly, disabled or for children. (For a full list see
Annexure B of the regulation itself)
Trains, taxis, buses, Ubers and airplanes that usually commute passengers are prohibited
from operating. Only taxis, buses, Ubers or private motor vehicles that are transporting
persons rendering an essential service or to obtain essential goods; seek medical
attention; collect a social grant or attend a funeral service, are allowed to operate during
this lockdown. In such instances, they may carry no more than 50% of their licensed
capacity and follow strict hygiene conditions.
In other words, if you drive to the shops in a 4 seater motor vehicle, you will only be
allowed a maximum of 2 people in the car- as this would be 50% of your motor vehicle’s
license capacity. If your seating capacity is 5, err on the side of caution and still only allow
2 people in the car.
As indicated above, funeral services for your loved ones are allowed. The service is limited
to only 50 attendees and may only be conducted during the day with all safety measures
Our national borders to the Republic are closed, and movement between provinces, as
well as the metropolitan and district areas are prohibited during the period of lockdown.
Retail stores who are allowed to stay open must ensure all customers keep a distance of
at least one square meter from each other and follow all other prescribed hygienic
conditions. These stores are also barred from selling any goods not deemed an essential
good, such as alcohol and cigarettes.
Although the new regulations have been vague at points, it is clear that you must stay
home and close your business unless you are a form of essential service that has been
listed as such, or absolutely have to leave to purchase food or seek medical assistance.
Also, be aware that if you do leave your home during this lockdown period for whatever
reason, you may legally be subjected to a screening for COVID-19 by an enforcement
officer. If you refuse, you may be detained at a quarantining facility for 48 hours pending a
court order to force you to undergo a medical examination.
I know these are very distressing and uncertain times for us all, but I hope this summary
helped shed some light on what the legal position is during this lockdown.
We will continue to keep you updated on all the latest legislative developments, and
encourage you to contact us should you have any questions or concerns going forward.
Stay home, stay safe and stay healthy.