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  1. Introduction

Since the commencement of the 21-day lockdown period imposed on South Africans on 24 March 2020, several amendments have been made to the regulations catering for the conditions of the lockdown. Herewith a break-down of the relevant amendments:

  1. Prohibition of Movement

2.1 General: Every person is confined to their place of residence unless strictly for the purpose of performing an essential service, obtaining an essential good or service, collecting a social grant or seeking emergency, life-saving or chronic medical attention. Every gathering is prohibited, save for funerals taking place in accordance with the regulations. Movement of persons between provinces and between metropolitan and district areas is prohibited except for essential workers’ commute to and from work, transportation of cargo, transportation of mortal remains and attendance of a funeral.

2.2 Co-Parenting arrangements: Movement of children between co-holders of parental responsibilities and rights during the lockdown period is prohibited except where arrangements are in place for a child to move from one parent to another in terms of a court order or a registered parenting plan, and only if the household to which the child is to move does not accommodate any person who is known or reasonably suspected to have come into contact with a person who has contracted or reasonably suspected to have contracted COVID-19. Parents or caregivers transporting the child pursuant to this regulation must have a copy of the court order or registered parenting plan in their possession.

2.3 Funerals and cremations: The movement of persons wishing to attend a funeral or cremation is only permitted where such person is a spouse, partner, child, child-in-law, parent, sibling, grandparent of the deceased or a person closely affiliated to the deceased. Attendance is limited to 50 people. Persons wishing to travel to attend a funeral or cremation are required to obtain a permit from the nearest magistrate’s office or police station. Permits will be issued upon production of a certified copy of a death certificate or sworn affidavit. Permit-holders are authorised to travel to and from the funeral or cremation within 48 hours and are required to stay at a hotel, lodge or guest house but not the residence of a relative or friend.

  1. Court Access and Other Services

3.1 Courts: During the lockdown period, there will be restricted access to the court precinct and all justice service points. Entry into the court and court precinct will only be allowed in respect of urgent and essential matters. Service and execution of court processes by the Sheriff will be limited to cases which are urgent and essential, including court orders relating to COVID-19, domestic violence protection orders, protection from harassment orders and service of process relating to claims which are about to prescribe. Eviction orders are not considered essential and service thereof will be suspended for the duration of the lockdown, and likewise, eviction proceedings are suspended until the end of the lockdown period.

3.2 Legal Aid: The provision of legal aid by Legal Aid South Africa will be limited to urgent and essential cases only during the lockdown.

3.3 Master’s Office: The Master’s Office will only render payment services to natural guardians, tutors and curators, or for and on behalf of minors and persons under curatorship in respect of approved payments for maintenance and education or applications for payments for the benefit of child-headed households, orphans and the elderly. Only documentation required for the burial deceased persons and the urgent appointment of curators will be processed.

3.4 Family Law services: The only family services that will be dealt with during the lockdown are orders relating to foster care, adoption, removal and placement of children and international child abduction case, maintenance matters and protection orders relating to domestic violence or harassment. Where the return date for interim protection orders falls during the lockdown, the date will be extended up to one month after lockdown ends.

3.5 Legal practitioners: Legal practitioners who are engaged in urgent litigation processes during the lockdown require a permit authorising them to do so from the Provincial Director of the relevant Provincial Legal Practical Council.

  1. Transport and Exports

4.1 Aviation: All international and domestic passenger flights are prohibited, except if specially authorised by the Minister of Transport for the repatriation or evacuation of South African nationals in foreign countries. Certain exceptions are made for technical flights such as medical evacuation flights, re-fuelling and aircraft in a state of emergency. All passengers and crew will be subject to the mandatory quarantine laws upon disembarking.

4.2 Public road transport: Public transport sedans are limited to carrying not more than 50% of its licensed passenger capacity. Taxi’s and minibuses may not carry more than 70% of their maximum licensed passenger capacity.

4.3 Passenger ships: Passenger vessels are prohibited from disembarking any passengers or crew at any South African sea ports except for disembarking South African crew, disembarking South African citizens and permanent residents or for replenishing fuels, stores and provisions. Disembarking persons are subject to mandatory quarantine laws.

4.4 Cargo ships: Cargo vessels are allowed into the following sea ports only for the purpose of handling cargo, replenishing fuel and provisions: Richards Bay, Durban, East London, Coega, Port Elizabeth, Mosselbay, Cape Town and Saldanha Bay.

4.5 Wine and agricultural exports: During lockdown, the transportation of agricultural cargo, wines and any other fresh produce products to sea ports and designated airports is allowed, which products may subsequently be exported from those ports.

  1. Essential Goods and Services

5.1 Additions to essential goods include –

5.1.1 medical and hospital supplies, medicine, equipment and personal protective equipment;

5.1.2 fuel, including coal, wood and gas; and

5.1.3 basic goods, including airtime, electricity and the withdrawal of cash.

5.2 Additions to essential services include –

5.2.1 grocery stores and wholesale produce markets, including spaza shops and informal food traders (with written permission from a municipal authority);

5.2.2 funeral and cremation services including mortuaries services and transportation of mortal remains;

5.2.3 newspaper, broadcasting and telecommunication infrastructure and services, including critical call centres;

5.2.4 cleaning, sanitation, pest control, sewerage, waste and refuse removal services; and

5.2.5 air-traffic navigation, Civil Aviation Authority, air charters, cargo shipping and dockyard services.

5.3 Excessive Pricing Complaints: The Competition Tribunal may hear urgent complaints relating to an alleged contravention of section 8(1)(a) of the Competition Act 89 of 1998 dealing with price fixing. Such urgent complaint may be conducted wholly as video or audio proceedings.

  1. Accommodation Services

6.1 Tourists: Where hotels, lodges, guests, game reserves or holiday resorts are required to provide services to tourists under quarantine, these establishments must adhere to all COVID-19 health protocols, including the provision of personal protective equipment for all employees. Employees rendering essential services to such tourists must be provided with accommodation for the duration of the lockdown. Establishments that have been designated by the Department of Health as quarantine or isolation facilities are not permitted to render essential services to any other persons besides those people quarantined or isolated or the essential service employees therein.

6.2 Airline crew members: Only approved hotels within designated airport precincts will be allowed to host airline crew for evacuation flights or cargo flights bringing essential supplies to South Africa.

  1. Contact Tracing

7.1 The Lockdown Regulations are amended by the inclusion of a new Chapter 3 dealing with contact tracing authorising the Department of Health to develop and maintain a national database to enable the tracing of persons who are known or reasonably suspected to have come into contract with any person known or reasonably suspected to have contracted COVID-19.

7.2 The tracing database will contain all information for the effective tracing of persons exposed to COVID-10, including full names, identity or passport numbers, residential addresses and cellular phone numbers of all persons who have been tested for COVID-19, together with their test results, as well as the details of all known and suspected contacts of any person who has tested positive for COVID-19.

7.3 The foregoing information will be collected from testing stations, laboratories, the National Institute for Communicable Disease and designated accommodation sites. The Director-General for Health is required to file a weekly report with designated COVID-19 judge, retired Constitutional Court Justice Kate O’Regan, setting out the names and details of all persons whose locations and movements were recorded in the database. Justice O’Regan will make recommendations to Cabinet members regarding the implementation of the contact tracing regulations to safeguard the right to privacy while ensuring the ability of the Department of Health to combat the spread of COVID019.

7.4 Within 6 weeks of the lapsing or termination of the national state of disaster, each person whose information has been recorded on the database will be notified and their information will be de-identified and used only for the purpose of research. Information which is not de-identified will be destroyed.

7.5 The information contained in the tracing database is confidential and no person may disclose any information unless authorised to do so and necessary for the purpose of combatting the spread of COVID-19.

  1. Social Services

8.1 Substance abuse treatment centres and halfway houses: No clients may be released from the facilities, no visitation is allowed during lockdown, all family reunification and interaction programmes are suspended, and no new admissions are allowed except where ordered by court.

8.2 Child and youth care facilities: No children may be released from the facilities, no visitation is allowed during lockdown, all family reunification and interaction programmes are suspended, and no new admissions are allowed except for children in conflict with the law and children declared to be in need of care and protection in terms of the Children’s Act, 38 of 2005. A social worker’s report is deemed to be sufficient for the removal and placement of a child in need of care and protection.

8.3 Shelter for victims of crimes and violence: No victims may be released from the facilities, no visitation is allowed during lockdown, all family reunification and interaction programmes are suspended. Social workers’ reports are deemed sufficient for the processing of victims.

8.4 Old age homes, frail care facilities and community-based residential facilities for persons in disabilities: No clients may be released from the facilities, no visitation is allowed during lockdown, all family reunification and interaction programmes are suspended, and no new admissions are allowed except in the case of older persons or persons with disabilities in distress.

8.5Home-based residential facilities for persons with disabilities: Care givers must be available to provide the required home-based care services during lockdown.

8.6 Community nutrition development centres: Gathering, seating and eating in centres, visitations are prohibited. Food and related items to be prepared and delivered through knock and drop by social service practitioners or volunteers.

8.7 Psychosocial support services must be provided to all those infected with or affected by COVID-19.

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