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  • Robyn Davie


Updated: Dec 14, 2021

The Lockdown Regulations, aimed at enforcing the 21-day national lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, were published on 25 March 2020 by Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (“the Minister”). These Regulations provide extensive clarity on the scope of the national lockdown that was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on 23 March 2020. The 21-day lockdown will be effective from midnight on 26 March 2020 until midnight on 16 April 2020.

In terms of the Regulations, the lockdown will result in a strict limitation of movement of persons and goods. Gatherings will be banned, except for funerals, which are limited to 50 people. Night vigils have also been disallowed. There will be no travel between provinces; no travel between metropolitan areas and districts and no travel outside of South Africa as borders are closed for the lockdown. Jogging and the walking of dogs has also been disallowed. The sale of alcohol will be banned as bottle stores, shebeens and taverns are required to close shop during this period. Shops have been limited to selling only “essential goods”. Essential goods are defined in Appendix A of the Lockdown Regulations as:

Food – any food product, including non-alcoholic beverages; animal food; and chemicals, packaging and ancillary products used in the production of any food product.

Cleaning and hygiene products – toilet paper, sanitary pads, sanitary tampons, condoms; hand sanitiser, disinfectants, soap, alcohol for industrial use, household cleaning products, and personal protective equipment; and chemicals, packaging and ancillary products used in the production of any of the above.

Medical – medical and hospital supplies, equipment and personal protective equipment; and chemicals, packaging and ancillary products used in the production of any of the above.

Fuel, including coal and gas, basic goods, including airtime and electricity are also considered essential goods.

Some of the “essential services” which will be exempted from the provisions of the Lockdown Regulations have been outlined as the following:

  1. Medical, Health (including Mental Health), Laboratory and Medical services;

  2. Disaster Management, Fire Prevention, Fire Fighting and Emergency services;

  3. Financial services necessary to maintain the functioning of the banking and payments environment, including the JSE and similar exchanges, as well as Insurance services;

  4. Production and sale of the goods listed in Appendix A, above;

  5. Grocery stores, including spaza shops;

  6. Electricity, water, gas and fuel production, supply and maintenance;

  7. Critical jobs for essential government services as determined by Head of National or Provincial Departments in accordance with the guidance by the DPSA, including Social Grant Payments;

  8. Birth and death certificates, and replacement identification documents;

  9. Essential municipal services;

  10. Care services and social relief of distress provided to older persons, mentally ill, persons with disabilities, the sick, and children;

  11. Funeral services, including mortuaries;

  12. Wildlife Management, Anti -poaching, Animal Care and Veterinary services;

  13. Newspaper, broadcasting and telecommunication infrastructure and services;

  14. Production and sale of any chemicals, hygiene products, pharmaceuticals for the medical or retail sector; and

  15. Cleaning, sanitation, sewerage, waste and refuse removal services.

Annexure C of the Lockdown Regulations provides for a permit that is required to be completed in order to prove that an employee of a business rendering essential goods or services is exempted from the Lockdown Regulations. The form must include the full names, surname, identity number, work, cellphone and home contact details, an email address and the physical address of the institution. The form must be signed by the head of the institution, who is also required to complete his/her full names, surname and identity number. The form must be accompanied by an official stamp of the institution. All essential service employees are required, at all times, to have their identity documents on them, failing which, they will be required to return to their place of residence to carry out the lockdown.

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Ebrahim Patel, announced that all businesses that will be allowed to provide essential services are required to seek approval from the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (“The DTIC”) in order for them to trade during the period of the lockdown in terms of the Lockdown Regulations. Such businesses are required to apply to the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (“CIPC”) Bizportal website at and obtain a certificate from CIPC that allows them to continue trading. The Bizportal website will contain a menu icon listed as “Essential Service Businesses” through which an application can be made to the CIPC.

Severe restrictions have also been placed on all forms of public transport, but provision has been made for essential transport services to continue, including transport for essential staff and patients. The provisions include: Railall public and private long-distance passenger rail services will stop operations during the lockdown, and all commuter rail services, such as Metrorail and Gautrain, will shut down. Aviation – all international and domestic flights are prohibited, irrespective of the risk category of the country of origin. Movement of air cargo will be allowed; however, cargo from high-risk countries will be sanitised. Maritime – a ban on cruise ships will be strictly enforced at all ports. Cargo will be allowed at the eight sea ports but cargo from high-risk countries will be sanitised.

Minibus taxis – these will be allowed to transport essential services workers and ‘those allowed to make the necessary permitted movements’ between 05:00 and 09:00 and 16:00 and 20:00. Operators are directed to adhere to social distancing, and taxis must be sanitised after every trip. Taxi ranks must be sanitised at regular intervals. Metered taxis and e-hailing – vehicles will be allowed to transport essential service workers and ‘those allowed to make the necessary permitted movements’ between 05:00 and 09:00 and 16:00 and 20:00. A vehicle licensed to carry up to four people will be permitted to load only one person. A vehicle licensed to carry up to eight passengers will be permitted to load a maximum of three. Regular sanitising must be carried out. Buses – operations will be limited to allow for the purposes of rendering essential services. Cross-border road transport – all cross-border road passenger movements will be prohibited. Cross-border freight movement will continue to and from neighbouring countries. Vehicle testing centres and driver’s licence testing centres will be closed. In the event that one’s driver’s licence expires during the duration of the lockdown, the Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, has advised that “it shall be deemed to remain valid until the end of the lockdown, with the grace period of renewal within 14 working days thereafter unless otherwise determined.”

Any person who contravenes the Lockdown Regulations shall be guilty of an offence and, on conviction, liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or to both such fine and imprisonment.

Should you require additional information, please contact Anthony Norton on 082 452 7336 or by email on; or Leago Mathabathe on 082 400 6805 or by email on


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