- 82152_2020_04_25_permitted_goods,_services_and_movement_(public_version).pdf.pdf (0.28 MB)
The South African government has unveiled initial details of its risk-adjusted approach for resuming economic activity and easing restrictions imposed as part of a hard lockdown, which was instituted on March 26 to combat the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on April 23 that South Africa would adopt a model that included five levels, with Level 5 representing a hard lockdown and Level 1 a situation whereby most economic and social activities were able to resume, albeit with ongoing health precautions.
During a briefing hosted on Saturday April 25, Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel provided an initial list of activities that could begin to resume, in phases, from May 1, which is when South Africa’s lockdown officially transitions from Level 5 to Level 4.
He stressed that the 21-page list was still being canvassed with business and labour and would, thus, be finalised, together with all other Level 4 regulations, during the course of the coming week.
Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said the regulations would continue to prohibit international travel and would restrict cross-provincial movement to freight logistics and to limited personal travel, such as travelling to attend a funeral.
There would also be an easing of restrictions on exercise, albeit within strictly defined parameters, and on the purchase of certain items prohibited during the Level 5 lockdown, including cigarettes and takeaway food for delivery only.
Dlamini-Zuma indicated that the regulations would be published on Thursday April 30.
“It’s not the end of the lockdown, it’s an easing through a risk adjusted approach,” Dlamini-Zuma stressed.
In weighing which sectors and businesses could resume during Level 4, government had given consideration to the sector’s contribution to gross domestic product, as well as its foreign exchange earnings and its integration into domestic and international supply-chains.
Patel indicated, however, that a sector’s contribution to community well-being had also been taken into account, as well as whether operations could continue remotely or whether they required the physical presence of employees at workplaces.
There had been an attempt to “strike the fine balance” between resuming economic activity as fast as possible while still limiting the spread of Covid-19.
He said government was acutely aware that, if it moved too fast, there was a risk of a rapid rise in infections, which could result in the reintroduction of a hard lockdown. Moving too slowly, however, would prolong the economic downturn, which posed a serious risk to enterprises and livelihoods.
He estimated that, under Level 4, some 1.5-million formal workers would be in a position to return to work, equating to about four in ten workers employed in the formal economy.
Some of the sectors and business activities included in the initial list for resumption from May 1, included:
- All subsectors falling under agriculture, forestry and fishing, including logging, forestry, horticulture, livestock transport and animal auctions.
- The partial opening of manufacturing initially at output levels that would vary from 20% to 100%. Those manufacturing sectors expected to immediately return to higher levels of output of between 50% and 100% included those making winter clothing, blankets, bedding, computers, mobile phones, vehicles and components, cement and construction materials, hardware and stationery.
- Besides essential food retailing, the other retail activities that would be allowed to resume under Level 4 included those stores selling children’s clothing, winter goods, stationary, tobacco products, information technology equipment and home office equipment.
- Mining, which had already started to resume after being declared an essential service, could continue to ramp-up, with opencast mines entitled to resume full production, while underground mines would be limited to 50% output levels.
- Various professional services, such as engineering, legal and accounting could also resume under Level 4.
- Call centres could also expand operations, while recycling, including informal collectors, could resume.
- The types of construction activity that that could be undertaken would be expended under Level 4 to include civil engineering for public works, including water, sanitation, energy and road and bridge construction and maintenance.
- Restaurants' activity could also resume, but for delivery only.
All the activities outlined as essential during the hard lockdown, such as food production and retail, financial services, coal mining and electricity production, would also continue.
For business operations to resume, Dlamini-Zuma said face covering would be mandatory, while the following protection measures should also be taken:
- The identification and protection of vulnerable employees, including older staff members.
- The safe transport of employees.
- Screening of employees on entering the workplace.
- The prevention of viral spread in the workplace through the use of hand sanitisers, the cleaning of surfaces and shared equipment, ensuring good ventilation, developing shift arrangements and canteen controls to limit contact.
- And the management of sick employees.
“ Monitoring systems must be in place to ensure compliance with safety protocols and identify infections among employees,” she said, adding that mass testing should be carried out for workplaces over 500 workers.