On Wednesday evening Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, signed amendments to the regulations put into place on 15th March.

The amendments lay out what South Africans can and can’t do during the 21-day nation-wide lockdown which commences at 23:59 this evening.

Importantly, the amendments lay out what responsibilities businesses rendering essential services and its workers have, in order to comply with the regulations.

The head of an institution is the person who will need to determine whether a business is rendering essential services. A full list of the services which are defined as essential can be found in Annexure B of the published regulations which can be found here.

Essential services require permission to trade during lockdown

However, just because a business thinks they are rendering an essential service doesn’t mean they are.

Businesses will be required to obtain approval to continue trading from the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition. This can be done by applying through Companies and Intellectual Property Commission’s Bizportal website.

There is a bit of a problem however. That website has been down since shortly after the regulations were published on Wednesday evening. It’s unclear when the website will be back up.

“It should be stressed and noted that if you make a false application to the CIPC, and are indeed not an essential service as per the government regulations, such will be taken as a fraudulent application and will render yourself as applicant liable to criminal prosecution and sanction,” the department wrote.

Permit to perform an essential service

Once approval is given, businesses will need to give employees a permit which must be presented should they be stopped en-route to work.

This form must be signed and a form of identification must accompany it at all times. Should you not have identification, you will be sent back home.

The form can be found in Annexure C of the amendments.

On a somewhat related note, for folks who are unable to travel to and from their place of work, employers will need to make necessary transport arrangements.

As regards transport, vehicles will only be allowed to carry a limited number of passengers. For a vehicle licensed to carry four persons, one person may travel in the vehicle. For vehicles with a capacity for eight passengers, three passengers will be permitted.

Buses will also be on hand to ferry essential works as will ehailing services.

No rail or air services will be permitted for travelling purposes during lockdown.

For those who are about to have their drivers’ licence expire there is good news.

“During the lockdown period most services rendered by our entities will be suspended. Vehicle Testing Centres and Drivers’ Licence Testing Centres (DLTCs) will be closed. Should your drivers’ licence expire during the duration of the lockdown 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,” transport minister Fikile Mbalula said.

Perhaps most importantly, everybody should keep in mind that these regulations can change should Dlamini Zuma feel additional amendments should be made.

For that reason we recommended businesses and ordinary South Africans keep an eye on the Goverment website for developments.

For those not rendering essential services, stay at home and remain there unless you have a medical emergency, need food or must attend a funeral.

Stay safe folks.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]