Law firm Fasken reports that Covid-19 lockdown regulations enforced with the commencement of the national lockdown on March 26, which restricted the operation of a number of industries in an effort to curb the spread of the virus, have been clarified with the publication of the latest directions issued under the regulations.
Under levels 5 and 4 of the lockdown, it was uncertain as to whether construction could continue on the renewable energy projects currently being developed pursuant to Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP).
In particular, Fasken notes that the regulations, which outlined the easing of the lockdown restrictions to Alert Level 4, vaguely allowed for the resumption of civil engineering services for public works projects (including water, energy and sanitation), along with public works civil engineering and construction works.
However, with Level 4 restrictions now in place, the REIPPPP-related development restrictions have been made clear and are intended to provide guidance on the implementation of the regulations.
In terms of a Government Notice published by Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe on May 15, certain civil engineering activities for public works are now permitted to recommence during the lockdown period.
However, they are only allowed to undertake work, such as civil engineering activities, relating to energy.
In addition, Fasken points out that Mantashe has clarified civil engineering for public works activities that are allowed to resume specifically include, amongst others, projects procured under the REIPPPP that are currently in construction.
In addition, all professional entities that provide licences, approvals and authorisations for the maintenance and construction of energy projects are also permitted to operate, as is all professional planning, costing and design work that supports construction work on sites, in anticipation of incremental work on construction sites.
Contracted suppliers, contractors and consultants who need to travel across borders to attend to projects can also operate, in addition to energy construction work for already priced and awarded government tenders.
Therefore, Fasken notes that the construction of the REIPPPP projects currently being developed that had been halted owing to the lockdown regulations, and the uncertainty surrounding these, may now resume.