South Africa Terminates National State of Disaster
Following months of consecutive postponements, the South African government has officially decided that it is time for the country to exit its National State of Disaster. Here is a look at what this means for the country’s population as well as provisions that will still remain in place.
With the exception of a few transitional laws, the Cabinet has decided to end the National State of Disaster with effect from midnight on Monday according to a statement issued by the presidency.
Since the requirements for the National State of Disaster to be declared in terms of the Disaster Management Act are no longer met, Cabinet has decided to terminate the National State of Disaster with effect from midnight tonight
The end of the National State of Disaster comes 750 days after the country went into lockdown to stop the spread of Covid-19 on March 15, 2020.
This means that all regulations and directions introduced in terms of the Disaster Management Act have been cancelled with effect from Tuesday at midnight.
President Cyril Ramaphosa further stated that these changes will not be without exception of a few transitional measures.
The declaration of a National State of Disaster created the legal foundation for the R350 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) Grant, which continues to give much-needed assistance to individuals most affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.
It also allowed the Covid TERS scheme to be established, which offered salary support to millions of workers.
It also enabled, among other things, providing aid to small enterprises, extending the validity of vehicle and driver’s licences, and managing the pandemic at educational institutions.
The president further stated that the following provisions will still apply for 30 after the lifting of the National State of Disaster:
People will still be required to wear a facemask in an indoor public space, however, a mask is not required when outdoors.
- As a temporary solution, existing limits on meetings will be maintained. This means that both indoor and outdoor venues can accommodate up to 50% of their capacity without exceeding their maximum capacity, as long as proof of vaccination or a Covid-19 test that is less than 72 hours old is necessary for entry. Where there is no provision for proof of vaccination or a COVID-19 test, then the current upper limit of 1000 people indoors and 2000 people outdoors will remain.
- The previous provisions for overseas travel are still in effect. Travellers entering South Africa must produce confirmation of vaccination or a negative PCR test taken within the last 72 hours. If the traveller in question does not have a vaccine certificate or documentation of a negative Covid-19 test, they will be required to take an antigen test upon arrival and, if positive, will be required to be isolated for 10 days.
- Meanwhile, the directions that provide for the payment of the special R350 SRD grant will remain in place. This will enable the Department of Social Development to finalise the regulations that will allow the payment of the grant to continue.
- Directions that provide for the extension of the validity of a learner’s licence, driving licence card, licence disc, professional driving permit and registration of a motor vehicle will remain in place.
- In addition to the Coronavirus Alert Levels no longer applicable as of midnight, the regulations on the isolation of persons, schools and access to old age homes, on public transport, on initiation practices, on cargo transportation, and on the criminalisation of non-adherence to these rules falls away.
He further pointed out that the transitional measures, which will expire in 30 days, will allow the pandemic to be managed by health standards or other procedures.