COVID-19 

“This is the time for facts, not fear. This is the time for science, not rumours. This is the time for solidarity, not stigma. We are all in this together, and we can only stop it together.” 

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus,  Director-General of the World Health Organization

 
Below is a comprehensive guide of facts and credible links related to the Coronavirus in South Africa. 
Visit this page regularly for any updates or changes. 

Do you have any lockdown questions you'd like us to answer?  Email your question to:  info@outa.co.za 

Government has published a number of regulations, declarations, directives and instructions in relation to the coronavirus, and key statements.

Click on any of the links below to find these documents.


Disaster Management Act of 2002. This is the Act in terms of which the key regulations are issued. The Act is administered by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), who makes regulations in terms of this Act.

15 March 2020: The Covid-19 pandemic is classified as a national disaster.

15 March 2020: A national state of disaster is declared due to Covid-19.

15 March 2020: In a speech to the nation, President Cyril Ramaphosa announces the state of national disaster and the first restrictions.

18 March 2020: The CoGTA Ministry issues regulations under the Disaster Management Act. This included arrangements for:  help from the Defence Force; funding from donors; prohibitions on gatherings; instructions for those with Covid-19; places of quarantine and isolation; closure of schools and penal facilities; limits on alcohol sales; emergency procurement procedures; authority for various ministers to issue directions in connection with Covid-19; and the listing of offences and penalties for contravention of the regulations.

18 March 2020: The Ministry of Transport issues the first restrictions on air travel and sea ports.

19 March 2020: The Ministry of Trade and Industry exempts the health sector from parts of the Competition Act and issues regulations to safeguard consumers from excessively high prices of key goods.

19 March 2020: National Treasury issues Instruction 8 of 2019/20 under the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), and Circular 100 under the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA), both relating to emergency procurement arising from Covid-19.

20 March 2020: Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng issued directions on how courts are to operate.

23 March 2020: The Ministry of Trade and Industry exempts the banking sector from parts of the Competition Act.

23 March 2020: The Ministry of Employment and Labour issues a notice on compensation for occupationally acquired Covid-19.

24 March 2020: The Ministry of Trade and Industry exempts the retail property sector from parts of the Competition Act.

24 March 2020: In a speech to the nation, President Ramaphosa announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown from midnight on 26 April to midnight on 16 April.

25 March 2020: CoGTA Ministry issues regulations on the lockdown and directions to the municipalities and provinces on managing Covid-19 and on the lockdown.

25 March 2020: The President informs Parliament that he has authorised the deployment of 2820 SANDF members in support of the SAPS and for border control, arising from the pandemic, from 26 March to 26 June 2020 at a cost of R641m. A copy of the letter is here.

26 March 2020: CoGTA Ministry amends the disaster regulations, which includes ordering that buses, taxis and e-hailing services may not carry more than 50% of their passenger capacity and private vehicles may not carry more than 60%.

26 March 2020: The Ministry of Home Affairs limits movements across South Africa's borders. 

26 March 2020: The Ministry of Transport repeals the order of 18 March on air travel, and replaces it with an order to shut down all international and domestic passenger flights and limit freight flights to certain airports. The Ministry also repeals the regulations of 18 March on sea ports, and issues further directions on sea ports , directions on railways, directions on taxis and buses, and directions on cross-border road transport.

26 March 2020: The Ministry of Telecommunications and Digital Technologies issues directions on communications, including the required dissemination of public information on Covid-19, and instructions enabling the tracking and tracing of people infected with Covid-19 through internet location information and cellphone tracking. 

26 March 2020: The Ministry of Employment and Labour sets up the Covid-19 Temporary Employee / Employer Relief Scheme, using the Unemployment Insurance Fund.

26 March 2020: The Ministry of Justice issues directions on courts, which includes restricts movements into courts, arranges for the postponement of court cases and makes arrangements for court operations such as family law services.

27 March 2020: The Ministry of Trade and Industry increases controls over the export of certain medical supplies and exempts the hotel industry from sections of the Competition Act. 

27 March 2020: The Ministry of Transport updates the directions of 26 March on air freight transport, increasing the number of airports open for freight.

29 March 2020: The Ministry of Finance announces an initial set of measures to assist tax compliant businesses with cash flow assistance and provide an incentive to businesses to retain their lower-income employees.

30 March 2020: The CoGTA Ministry directions to municipalities include suspending council meetings and following National Treasury directions on emergency procurement. The Ministry of Finance extends certain MFMA reporting deadlines for municipalities.

30 March 2020: The Ministry of Transport's updates on road transport include setting the times taxis may operate, extending the validity of driving and vehicle licences which would expire during the lockdown, and declaring certain jobs like road emergency operators and toll operators as essential services.

30 March 2020: The Ministry of Social Development issues directions on access to social services.

30 March 2020: In a speech to the nation, President Ramaphosa announces a screening, testing, tracing and medical management programme which will involve 10 000 field workers visiting homes in villages, towns and cities to screen people for Covid-19 and refer those who need it for testing.

31 March 2020: The Ministry of Foresty, Fisheries and Environment extends deadlines relating to environmental licences and authorisations.

31 March 2020: The Ministry of Justice issues further directions on the operations of courts.

31 March 2020: The Ministry of Transport changes the operating times for taxis and buses carrying essential services workers, and amends air transport directions to allow special flights for repatriation of South Africans, evacuation of foreigners and the operation of emergency flights. 

31 March 2020: The Ministry of Finance extends certain PFMA deadlines for organs of state.

2 April 2020: The CoGTA Ministry updates regulations on aspects of the lockdown. This includes updates on movement, essential services, borders, funerals, commuter transport (including updating passenger numbers in buses, taxis and cars), and the establishment of a Covid-19 Tracing Database.

2 April 2020: The Ministry of Tourism closes all tourist accommodation including hotels, resorts and game reserves, with certain exceptions.

2 April 2020: The Independent Communications Authority (ICASA) sets rules for licensees for public dissemination of information on Covid-19, including ordering that sign-language interpreters must be used in at least 50% of television news broadcasts at peak hours and in all broadcasts by the National Command Council. The rules also enable ICASA to temporarily assign radio frequency spectrum.

3 April 2020: The Ministry of Trade and Industry sets out how the Competition Tribunal will deal with complaints of excessive prices in connection with Covid-19.

3 April 2020: The Information Regulator of SA issues guidelines on the use of personal information in combatting the spread of Covid-19, emphasising the right to privacy of those tested for or infected with Covid-19.

6 April 2020: The Ministry of Communications and Digital Technologies amends the communications directions of 26 March, requiring cellphone companies to make available connectivity to 152 district virtual classroom platforms, and ordering free access to specified Covid-19 websites and the Covid-19 emergency number.

6 April 2020: The Ministry of Small Business Development issues directions on how small businesses should operate, including spaza shops.

7 April 2020: The Ministry of Employment and Labour publishes the extension of the National Textile Bargaining Council's Covid-19 lockdown collective agreement, making it applicable across the industry.

7 April 2020: The Ministry of Social Development updates directions of 30 March, including on access to social services and on the movement of children between parents who don't live together.

7 April 2020: The Ministry of Transport updates the number of passengers which taxis may carry and updates directions on sea ports, blocking passenger vessels.

8 April 2020: The Ministry of Trade and Industry expands the block exemption of the health industry from sections of the Competition Act, improving coordination of medical supplies.

8 April 2020: The Ministry of Employment and Labour updates directions of 25 March on the Covid-19 Temporary Relief Scheme and UIF.

8 April 2020: The Ministry of Health issues directions on health personnel recruitment and training. This allows emergency recruitment of health staff, including bringing back retired staff, and allows deployments. It also orders that all health personnel, both public (at national, provincial and local government level) and private, must be trained on Covid-19 to help manage the pandemic. The directions also cover provision of equipment, disposal of waste and mortuaries.

9 April 2020: The SA Nursing Council orders that retired nurses who return to work during the Covid-19 pandemic will be registered without having to pay fees.

9 April 2020: The Ministries of Health and Trade and Industry jointly set out the extent to which call centres may operate during the lockdown. 

9 April 2020: The Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services updates the directions of 18 March on prisons and remand facilities.

9 April 2020: The Ministry of Sport, Arts and Culture suspends all sporting, arts, cultural and religious events in stadiums and venues.

9 April 2020: In a speech to the nation, President Ramaphosa extends the national lockdown by another two weeks, until midnight on 30 April.

11 April 2020: The Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy extends deadlines on permissions, rights and permits.

13 April 2020: Epidemiologist Professor Salim Abdool Karim's presentation to the Minister of Health on SA's Covid-19 epidemic: Trends and Next Steps. Abdool Karim is the government's chief advisor on Covid-19.

14 April 2020: Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni speaks about the government's economic response to Covid-19.

15 April 2020: ICASA sets up the free telephone number 111 for Covid-19 national emergency services. The public can call or SMS this number without being charged. This number will fall away three months after the end of the National State of Disaster.

15 April 2020: National Treasury issues Instruction 3 of 2020/21, a strategy for central emergency procurement for PFMA organs of state, and Circular 101 on the same strategy under the MFMA.

15 April 2020: Ministry of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation sets up a National Disaster Water Command Centre, operating out of Rand Water.

16 April 2020: The CogTA Ministry issues updated lockdown regulations, for the extension of the lockdown to 30 April.

17 April 2020: The Chief Justice issues directions on the management of courts.

17 April 2020: The Ministry of Employment and Labour extends the SA Road Passenger Bargaining Council collective agreement on Covid-19 temporary relief to the rest of the industry.

17 April 2020: The Ministry of Higher Education extends various deadlines for public and private higher education institutions, and lists essential goods and services for higher education institutions.

20 April 2020: The CoGTA Ministry issues an update to regulations on food

21 April 2020: Statement to the nation by President Ramaphosa on further economic and social measures in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

22 April 2020: Letter from President Cyril Ramaphosa tabled in Parliament, informing Parliament of the extended deployment of the SANDF in support of the SAPS and to control borders, from 2 April to 26 June 2020. This takes the SANDF deployment from the 2 820 deployed on 25 March to 76 000, at a revised cost estimated at R4.590bn.

23 April 2020: Statement to the nation by President Ramphosa on how the lockdown will be lifted on 1 May.

23 April 2020: The National Treasury explains further tax measures to combat the pandemic, with further explanatory notes, and issues a notice on expanding access to living annuities.

24 April 2020: Statement by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni on the R500bn support package and the Treasury's outline of the Covid-19 loan scheme for SMMEs

29 April 2020: The Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy issues directions on measures for mining operations.

29 April 2020: The Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology updates its directions on its list of essential goods and services for the sector, which includes textbooks.

29 April 2020: The Ministry of Employment and Labour issues directions on health and safety in the workplace.

29 April 2020: The National Treasury updates emergency procurement measures: see the Treasury's statement, the Treasury Instruction no.5 and its annexure A and Annexure B.

29 April 2020: The CoGTA Ministry issues regulations on the phasing in of service for Level 4 of lockdown.

30 April 2020: The Ministry of Health extends the maximum period for issuing of prescriptions for  schedule 2, 3 and 4 substances from six to 12 months; this is updated on 7 May.

30 April 2020: The National Treasury publishes Economic Measures for Covid-19 and a technical paper on Financing a Sustainable Economy, and its presentation to Parliament on the financial implications of Covid-19.

30 April 2020: The CoGTA Ministry updates Level 4 regulations on the once-off movement between provinces to return home or to work. The Transport Ministry issues directions on public transport for the once-off movement between provinces.

1 May 2020: National Treasury revises the Covid-19 Draft Tax Bills with a call for comment by 15 May.

3 May 2020: The Ministry of Communications and Digital Technologies issues directions on what communications and ICT services may be provided under Level 4 lockdown.

4 May 2020: The Ministry of Employment and Labour extends Covid-19 lockdown agreement with the National Bargaining Council for the Electrical Industry to the whole sector, and the amended agreement on textile workers to that sector. The Ministry also amends the directive on the Covid-19 Temporary Employee / Employer Relief Scheme

4 May 2020: The Ministry of Finance includes certain financial services in the list of essential services.

4 May 2020: The Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services updates the directions on courts, including postponing most criminal trials.

4 May 2020: The Ministry of Transport updates the directions on the validity of learner, driving and vehicle licences and on the opening of testing centres. The Ministry updated the directions on public transport including operating times and passenger capacity, and extended the hours for public transport between provinces. The Ministry also updates directions on air freight, on railway operations, and on sea ports.

4 May 2020: The Ministry of Sport, Arts and Culture provided direction for the creative sector on film and television content production

5 May 2020: The Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation extends the time for employers to submit applications for mandatory grants to the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs).

5 May 2020: ICASA updates regulations on aspects of broadcasting relating to the use of local content.

5 May 2020: The Ministry of Trade and Industry expands the scope of the Competition Act block exemption for the banking sector.

5 May 2020: The Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy publishes a court order on operating procedures for mines under Covid-19. 

6 May 2020: The Chief Justice issues further directions on the management of courts.

6 May 2020: the Ministry of Transport updates the times which public transport may operate.

7 May 2020: The CoGTA Ministry updates the directions on municipal governance

7 May 2020: The CoGTA Ministry permits previously arranged home removals from 7 May to 7 June. 

7 May 2020: The Ministry of Health amends the Medical Schemes Act Regulations to include Covid-19 in the list of prescribed minimum benefits

8 May 2020: The President issues a proclamation listing the categories of prisoners who may be paroled early.

8 May 2020: The Ministry of Communications and Digital Technologies amends directions of 26 March and 6 April.

9 May 2020: The Social Development Ministry updates directions on social services, including the release of inmates from facilities, the extension of temporary grants and grants which lapse, to allow the electronic application for grants, the movement of children.

9 May 2020: The Ministry of Health updates directions on movement across South Africa's borders for emergency medical treatment, the return of South Africans and the repatriation of foreign nationals.

11 May 2020: The Chief Inspector of Mines issues draft guidelines for the mitigation of Covid19. The deadline for comments is 14 May.

12 May 2020: The Ministry of Small Business Development lists small businesses which may operate.

12 May 2020: The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Competition allows certain clothing, footwear and bedding to be sold and allows trade in cars and certain auto repairs.

13 May 2020: The Ministry of Higher Education and Training allows final year medical students to travel back to universities.

14 May 2020: The CoGTA Ministry issues directions on the movement of people and goods, for relocations.

14 May 2020: The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Competition allows trading through e-commerce platforms.

14 May 2020: The Ministry of Transport amends directions for railway operations, partly reopening the Gautrain.

14 May 2020: The Ministry of forestry, Fisheries and Environment issues directions relating to the processing of permits, registrations and certificates, directions for the freshwater and marine fishing sectors, and on recycling.

15 May 2020: The Ministry of Employment and Labour updates directions on the Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme.

15 May 2020: The Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy extends the list of permitted goods and services for energy projects to include, among others, civil engineering works for REIPPs, embedded generation project, the ongoing build of Medupi and Kusile, the department's solar water heater programme.


Submissions on Covid-19 matters to Parliament

The full schedule of meetings of parliamentary committees and the records of these meetings are available from the Parliamentary Monitoring Group.


10 April 2020: Portfolio Committee on Health: Acting DG for Health, Dr Anban Pillay briefs the committee on the pandemic in South Africa; his presentation is here

21 April 2020: Joint meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Science and Technology, and the Standing Committee on Education and Technology, Sports, Arts and Culture:

* Department of Higher Education and Training presentation: Plans for Academic Year 2020 and response to Covid-19 pandemic and Annexure: Projects underway at universities.

* Department of Higher Education and Training presentation: Saving the academic year following the lockdown period: TVET colleges.  

* Department of Science and Innovation presentation: NSI work towards curbing Covid-19.

21 April 2020: Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs: presentations by the Minister, on the implementation of the disaster management regulations. The Minister's full report is here and the presentation is here.

21 April 2020: Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation: the Minister briefs the committee on measures being taken. A link to the meeting records, including presentations, is here.

22 April 2020: The Joint Standing Committee on Defence discussed defence operations and developments under the nationwide lockdown in response to the spread of COVID-19. The meeting records are here.

22 April 2020: The Portfolio Committee on Employment and Labour and Select Committee on Trade and Industry, Economic Development, Small Business Development, Tourism, Employment and Labour were briefed by the Department of Employment and Labour on Covid-19 responses.

23 April 2020: The Portfolio Committee on Social Development discussed the response to Covid-19. The meeting records are here.

23 April 2020: The Standing Committee on Finance discussed the tax bills relating to the state of national disaster. The National Treasury briefed the committee on the Draft Disaster Management Tax Relief Bill and 2020 Draft Disaster Management Tax Relief Administration Bill.

27 April 2020: The Portfolio Committee on Health and the Select Committee on Health and Social Services were briefed by the Department of Health on quarantine sites, shortage of personal protective equipment, services to refugees and asylum seekers, the financial implications of the pandemic, policy implications after the pandemic and vaccine trials. 

28 April 2020: The Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs and the Select Committee on Security and Justice were briefed by the Department of Home Affairs on matters related to Covid-19 including borders and the Beitbridge border fence. The meeting records are here.

28 April 2020: The Portfolio Committee on Small Business Development and the Select Committee on Trade and Industry, Economic Development, Small Business Development, Tourism, Employment and Labour were briefed by the Department of Small Business Development on help for SMEs. The meeting records are here

28 April 2020: The Portfolio Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs was briefed by the SA Local Government Association on the role of local government in combatting the spread of Covid-19.

29 April 2020: The Portfolio Committee on Basic Education and the Select Committee on Education and Technology, Sports, Arts and Culture were briefed by the Department of Basic Education on schooling during the lockdown and the way forward.

29 April 2020: The Portfolio Committee on Police and the Select Committee on Security and Justice were briefed by the SAPS on management of the lockdown.

29 April 2020: The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services and the Select Committee on Security and Justice were briefed by the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Service on Covid-19 measures.

29 April 2020: The Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry and the Select Committee on Trade and Industry, Economic Industry Development, Small Business Development, Tourism, Employment and Labour were briefed by the Minister on the effects of the pandemic on the economy and mitigation measures.

30 April 2020: The Portfolio Committee on Transport and the Select Committee on Transport, Public Service and Administration, Public Works and Infrastructure briefed by the Minister of Transport on matters under the lockdown including vehicle movements, ETC vehicle counting technology on Gauteng freeways, toll gate vehicle counts, public transport operators' compliance, transportation of essential goods and people involved in essential services, cross-border traffic and plans for phasing in of future transport arrangements.

30 April 2020: The Select and Standing Committees on Finance, Standing Committee on Appropriations and the Standing Committee on Public Accounts briefed by the National Treasury on the fiscal implication of COVID-19, on interventions by government to save and stimulate the economy, and on the implications of non-compliance with procurement laws and policies.

30 April 2020: The Portfolio Committee on CoGTA briefed by the CoGTA Minister and the SA Local Government Association (Salga) on the stimulus package to municipalities. The Ministry's presentation is here and Salga's is here.

4 May 2020: The Portfolio Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure briefed by the department on properties for quarantine facilities. The meeting record is here.

4 May 2020: The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services and the Select Committee on Security and Justice continued discussions with the Ministry on Covid-19 related matters.

4 May 2020: The Portfolio Committee on Tourism and Select Committee on Trade and Industry, Economic Development, Small Business Development, Tourism, Employment and Labour briefed by the Minister of Tourism on the impact of the pandemic on the tourism industry.

8 May 2020: The Portfolio Committee on Communications and the Select Committee on Public Enterprises and Communication briefed by the Government Communication and Information Systems (GCIS) on its Covid-19 related programmes and projects.

12 May 2020: The Portfolio Committee on Police and the Select Committee on Security and Justice continued with the SAPS briefing on the police management of the National State Disaster lockdown. They were also briefed by the IPID on police misconduct during the lockdown.

12 May 2020: The Portfolio Committee on Communications and its entities briefed by the department on Covid-19 related issues.

14 May 2020: The Portfolio and Select Committees on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs briefed by the City of Cape Town metro, the City of Johannesburg metro and the City of eThekwini metro on plans to combat the spread of Covid-19 virus. The city presentations are here: CoCT, CoJ and eThekwini.

14 May 2020: Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Science and Technology and Select Committee on Higher Education, Technology, Sports, Arts and Culture briefed further by the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology on plans to save the 2020 academic year.


 

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“We will succeed, we will adapt and we will all act responsibly. If we work together and stick to the path we know together, we will beat this disease.

We will overcome.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa