South Africa Eases COVID-19 Restrictions

On September 16, 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that South Africa would move from Alert Level 2 to Alert Level 1 of Risk Adjusted Strategy as of midnight on September 20, 2020. This is in part in response to the relatively low levels of infections and the government led interventions to combat the spread of COVID-19. While South Africa has confirmed over 650,000 infections and has suffered 15,000 deaths, recent data illustrates that the number of new cases has substantially decreased—from nearly 14,000 new daily cases on July 24, 2020 at its peak, to just 1,555 new cases on September 20.

This announcement comes a few days after the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) announced the extension of the national state of disaster from 15 September 2020 to 15 October 2020, as published in Government Gazette 43713. The reason for the extension of the national state of disaster is to grant government the authority required to continue updating existing legislation and contingency arrangements undertaken to address the impact of the pandemic.

Eased restrictions

The following activities are permitted under Alert Level 1:

Gatherings:

  • Gatherings will be allowed as long as the number of people do not exceed 50% of the normal capacity of a venue—up to a maximum of 250 people for indoor gatherings and 500 people for outdoor gatherings;
  • Maximum capacity at funerals has been increased from 50 to 100 people;
  • Night vigils are still prohibited;
  • Venues such as gyms and recreational facilities may have 50% of total capacity; and,
  • Existing restrictions on sporting events remain in place.

Travel:

  • The government will gradually ease restrictions on international travel for business and leisure from October 1 – subject to containment measures. A list of permitted countries will be published and based on the latest scientific data;
  • International travel will only be allowed through the main border ports or through OR Tambo International, Cape Town International, or King Shaka International;
  • Travelers will need to provide a negative coronavirus certificate or will be put into quarantine at their own cost; and
  • All travelers will be required to install the COVID-19 alert level app, which helps the government facilitate effective contract tracing.

Others:

  • The evening curfew will apply between midnight and 4:00 a.m.;
  • Alcohol for home consumption can be sold between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday;
  • Consumption of alcohol at restaurants, taverns etc. will be allowed subject to adherence to the curfew; and,
  • More government facilities and services will return.

Regulations which give effect to the eased restrictions were published on September 17, 2020 under Government Gazette No 43725.

For further information, please reach out to Covington’s COVID-19 Task Force at COVID19@cov.com, Mosa Mkhize at MMkhize@cov.com and/or Shivani Naidoo at SNaidoo@cov.com.

 

 

 

Photo of Mosa Mkhize Mosa Mkhize

Mosa Mkhize is a policy advisor in the firm’s Africa Practice Group through which she provides strategic policy and regulatory advice to clients doing business with and across Africa.

Ms. Mkhize, a non-lawyer, has over a decade of experience in international trade and…

Mosa Mkhize is a policy advisor in the firm’s Africa Practice Group through which she provides strategic policy and regulatory advice to clients doing business with and across Africa.

Ms. Mkhize, a non-lawyer, has over a decade of experience in international trade and public policy. During this time, she has supported senior policymakers and private sector companies on a broad range of issues including policymaking and development, negotiating complex international trade deals, and advocating for policies and regulations related to science and technology. In addition to this, Ms. Mkhize’s capabilities include building strategic relationships and coalitions in support of smart technologies. Furthermore, she is currently working with government officials, private corporations, academia, and the general public on facilitating policies in the smart technology space.

Shivani Naidoo

Shivani Naidoo is a South African qualified lawyer and associate in the firm’s Africa Practice Group. She advises on a broad range of general transactional matters including corporate governance, JSE listing requirements, and intellectual property. She has particular expertise in drafting and negotiating…

Shivani Naidoo is a South African qualified lawyer and associate in the firm’s Africa Practice Group. She advises on a broad range of general transactional matters including corporate governance, JSE listing requirements, and intellectual property. She has particular expertise in drafting and negotiating agreements in relation to acquisitions, joint ventures, trade agreements, licensing, franchising, supply chain, agency, distribution and logistics, outsourcing, broadcasting and licensing, privacy and data protection, and performer contracts. Her experience also includes conducting due diligence investigations related to corporate transactions.

Shivani has assisted both local and foreign clients in establishing companies in South Africa, as well as advising on various regulatory matters such as the South African Companies Act and the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act (“B-BBEE”). She has strong capabilities in structuring B-BBEE transactions, as well as drafting and negotiating related commercial documents in relation to share subscriptions, business and asset allocation, board and shareholder resolutions, trust deeds, memoranda of incorporation, waiver letters, empowerment transactions, assignment agreements, and TRP applications.

Shivani gained extensive experience and a working knowledge of the telecommunications industry while on secondment to Liquid Telecommunications South Africa Proprietary Limited. Her experience includes, among other capabilities, advising on general commercial matters pertaining to the business, drafting and negotiating various tender proposals, dark fiber asset sale agreements, and fiber maintenance agreements.