The nation-wide lockdown will be enacted in terms of the Disaster Management Act from
midnight on Thursday 26 March until midnight on Thursday 16 April. All South Africans will
have to stay at home.
Exempted from the lockdown:
Health workers in the public and private sectors, emergency personnel, those in security
services – such as the police, traffic officers, military medical personnel, soldiers – and
other persons necessary for our response to the pandemic. It will also include those
involved in the production, distribution and supply of food and basic goods, essential
banking services, the maintenance of power, water and telecommunications services,
laboratory services, and the provision of medical and hygiene products. A full list of essential
personnel will be published.
What does lockdown mean for me?
Individuals will not be allowed to leave their homes except under strictly controlled
circumstances, such as to seek medical care, buy food, medicine and other supplies or
collect a social grant. Temporary shelters that meet the necessary hygiene standards will
be identified for homeless people. Sites are also being identified for quarantine and selfisolation
for people who cannot self-isolate at home.
What else will be closed?
All shops and businesses will be closed, except for pharmacies, laboratories, banks,
essential financial and payment services, including the JSE, supermarkets, petrol stations
and health care providers.
Solidarity Fund to help fight COVID-19:
Following consultation with social partners, we have set up a Solidarity Fund, which South
African businesses, organisations and individuals, and members of the international
community, can contribute to.
• The Fund will focus efforts to combat the spread of the virus, help us to track the spread,
care for those who are ill and support those whose lives are disrupted.
• The Fund will complement what we are doing in the public sector. I am pleased to
announce that this Fund will be chaired by Ms Gloria Serobe and the deputy Chairperson is
Mr Adrian Enthoven.
• The Fund has a website – www.solidarityfund.co.za – and you can begin to deposit
monies into the account tonight. The Fund will be administered by a reputable team of
people, drawn from financial institutions, accounting firms and government.
• It will fully account for every cent contributed and will publish the details on the website. It
will have a board of eminent South Africans to ensure proper governance.
• To get things moving, Government is providing seed capital of R150 million and the
private sector has already pledged to support this fund with financial contributions in the
coming period. Details of these will be made available within the next few days.
Government assisting businesses that may be in distress:
• Using the tax system, we will provide a tax subsidy of up to R500 per month for the next
four months for those private-sector employees earning below R6,500 under the
Employment Tax Incentive. This will help over 4 million workers.
• The South African Revenue Service will also work towards accelerating the payment of
employment tax incentive reimbursements from twice a year to monthly to get cash into
the hands of compliant employers as soon as possible.
• Tax compliant businesses with a turnover of less than R50 million will be allowed to
delay 20% of their pay-as-you-earn liabilities over the next four months and a portion of
their provisional corporate income tax payments without penalties or interest over the next
six months. This intervention is expected to assist over 75 000 small and medium-term
• We are exploring the temporary reduction of employer and employee contributions to the
Unemployment Insurance Fund and employer contributions to the Skill Development Fund.
We will prioritise the lives and livelihoods of our people above all else, and will use all of
the measures that are within our power to protect them from the economic consequences
of this pandemic.
In the days, weeks and months ahead our resolve, our resourcefulness and our unity as a
nation will be tested as never before. I call on all of us, one and all, to play our part.
-President Cyril Ramaphosa, 23 March 2020