In these extremely uncertain and difficult times the South African government has put measures in place in an attempt to protect the citizens of South Africa against the spread of Covid-19 through “flattening the curve”. This is principally being implemented through the 21 day lockdown which we are all in the middle of. Our government however continues, throughout the lockdown period, to frequently and constantly amend the law (through amending and publishing new regulations in terms of the Disaster Management Act) applicable to the lockdown and the measures which it is taking to prevent the spread of the pandemic. These continuous amendments, while confusing at times, are understandable and necessary considering the urgency with which the initial regulations were drafted and published and the swiftly changing social and economic factors facing our diverse country. These regulations together with the directions issued in accordance with the powers given to ministers in terms of the regulations, are all published in the Government Gazette.
The purpose of this article is to attempt to consolidate as many of these regulations (and the subsequent amendments thereto) in one place to try and make accessing and deciphering them a little easier. This is however not to be considered an exhaustive list as new regulations are being published, almost at the same speed as the spread of the virus! Attention must therefore be given to fact that new regulations will be passed that will amend or replace the previous regulations in toto.
Below is a, non-exhaustive, list of the different regulations and subsequent amendments thereto published in the Government Gazette by our different ministers over the last 2 – 3 weeks. These regulations read with the empowering act – namely the Disaster Management Act of 2002 – set out the current law with which the residents of South Africa have to comply during the lockdown period. It is very important to note that failure to comply with some of the provisions constitutes a criminal offence for which a fine and/or jail time may be the consequence.
As we collectively traverse this world altering experience, our government will inevitably issue new/amended regulations and directions aimed at combating and preventing the spread of the Corona Virus and we urge everyone to be aware and take heed of these changes and to therefore regularly check for updates.
The courts are taking the breach of the regulations extremely seriously. As the current “situation” is still relatively new there have not been many court cases dealing with the regulations and/or directions pertaining to the lock down. There is however one judgment, handed down by the Honourable Judge Roelofse, AJ on 3 April 2020, which clearly highlights the seriousness with which the courts will apply and interpret the regulations and directives. In brief and while the crux of the matter was essentially resolved by agreement, the Honorable Judge investigated whether the legal representatives of the parties to the dispute, some of which were senior counsel and had previously acted as judges, had complied with and/or breached certain of the regulations by not obtaining the requisite permits and/or travelling across provincial boundaries to a court outside of “their jurisdiction”. The Learned Judge found that bar for one counsel there had not been any compliance. The Learned Judge referred the respective legal representatives to their regulatory bodies for unprofessional conduct and ordered that they (bar for one) not be permitted to charge their clients for their preparation, travel or attendance at court, and expressed the opinion that they may well have committed a criminal offence. The Judge’s ruling can be found by clicking on the following link: Ex Parte: van Heerden (1079/2020)  ZAMPMBHC 5 (27 March 2020) – Let us have your thoughts/comments in this regard – email: email@example.com
Below are some further websites and/or contact details that may be useful at this time:
Legal Practice Council:
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
D Mlambo – The Judge President of the Gauteng Division of the High Court of South Africa
Directives: Directive - 16 March 2020
Urgent directive 17 March 2020
Amended directive - 18 March 2020
Directive - 25 March 2020
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng
Directives: Directive by the Heads of Court to curb the spread of COVID-19 March 2020
Directive - 20 March 2020
Media statement - 17 March 2020
COVID – 19 - 24 Hour Hotline: 0800 029 999
SAFT (South African Future Trust) – assistance for SMME’s offered by the Oppenheimer’s and administered through the various banks - https://opp-gen.com/saft/
Business Partners are also managing a relief fund donated by and/or through the Rupert Family : https://finance.businesspartners.co.za/welcome-to-the-sukuma-relief-programme/
SEDA - https://seda.org/resources-and-data/covid-19-resources/
Covid-19 Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TRS) – e-mail: Covid19ters@labour.gov.za for further information also go to: http://www.labour.gov.za/
Should you have any specific COVID – 19 related queries or queries in relation to the consequences of this lockdown for you and/or your business – for example relating to employees, business rescue, liquidation, personal liabilities, debts, contract breaches and/or performance feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best to get back to you as soon as possible.