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Lockdown laws: South Africa’s amended regulations

To curb the spread of the new coronavirus, South Africa instated a national lockdown. What do CoGTA’s amended regulations mean for you? Read our summary.

South Africa’s efforts to stymie the spread of the new coronavirus continue with new regulations gazetted by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) Minister, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

The regulations serve as amendments to the Disaster Management Act (DMA) of 2002. In accordance with section 27(1) of the 2002 Act, South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, declared a national state of disaster on 15 March 2020. This, Ramaphosa counselled, would enable “an integrated and coordinated disaster management mechanism that will focus on preventing and reducing the outbreak of this virus”.

This integrated response includes a set of DMA regulations which came into operation on 18 March 2020. In accordance with these: gatherings of more than 100 people were prohibited; schools and partial care facilities were closed from 18 March until 15 April; visits to various facilities were suspended for a 30 day period (these include remand detention facilities, correction centres and Department of Social Development facilities) and the sale and transportation of liquor were limited.

New amendments

On 25 March 2020, Dlamini-Zuma amended these regulations under section 27(2) of the DMA. These amendments clarify previous regulations and offer more certainty leading up to South Africa’s nationwide lockdown.

In accordance with these amended regulations; under lockdown:

  • Individuals’ movements will be restricted between 23:59 Thursday, 26 March and 23:59 Thursday, 16 April. 
  • People are to remain in their homes unless: performing or obtaining an essential good or service; collecting social grants; or seeking emergency, life-saving or chronic medical attention.
  • Movement between provinces and between metro and district areas is disallowed
  • Gatherings (understood as crowds, assemblies and processions of people on public roads and in buildings “wholly or partly in the open air”) are prohibited. Funerals are exempted from these proscriptions but are limited to 50 people. Night vigils associated with funerals remain banned, however. 
  • Only essential goods can be sold. What is regulated as “essential” can be amended by the Cabinet.
  • Public transport is prohibited except: bus, taxi, e-hailing and private vehicles transporting those providing or acquiring essential goods and services; seeking medical attention; taking part in funeral services; and those collecting grant payments. These vehicles can only carry 50% of their licensed capacity, while private cars are permitted 60% of their licensed capacity.

You can find and download the amended regulations here:

26 March amendments

25 March amendments

18 March regulations

Disaster Management Act

[Please note: Information on the new coronavirus is rapidly changing. Please refer to the South African government’s releases for the latest information.]

Gopolang Makou was the impact and engagement officer at Bhekisisa.