NATIONAL NEWS - Government has made a number of changes to South Africa’s level 1 lockdown regulations, as the country continues to ease restrictions.
In a series of gazettes published on Wednesday (7 October), the rules around grants, sports and events were updated to clarify existing regulations and allow for the further reopening of some sectors.
The changes are outlined in more detail below.
A new directive by Social Development minister Lindiwe Zulu extends some grant payments until the end of 2021. These include:
- Temporary disability grants which lapsed in July 2020 or are due to lapse during the months of August to October, will not lapse until the end of 31 December 2020 and must continue to be paid until 31 December 2020;
- Care dependency grants, which were extended to October 2020, will not lapse in October 2020 but will continue to be paid until 31 December 2020.
The directive also makes specific provision for failed applications to the UIF’s Temporary Employee / Employer Relief Scheme (TERS) grant.
The TERS applies to employers who are facing distress and are unable to pay salaries due to the lockdown. The payments are part of a government-wide response to ease the burden of the pandemic and to ensure that, to the extent possible, workers are not prejudiced by the lockdown.
However, previous reports indicate that some applications may have failed erroneously or due to a change in criteria.
The directive takes this into account by introducing a number of additional requirements when considering reassessment – including checking with banks to determine whether a person has had no income within a 30 day period.
A new directive by Sports, Arts and Culture minister Nathi Mthethwa further clarifies the rules around the resumption of sports in South Africa.
The gazette states that sport, arts and culture activities, including both professional and nonprofessional matches, by recognised sporting bodies, are allowed, subject to the
- No spectators are allowed at the venue or precinct of a sports venue during a match;
- International sport, arts and cultural events involving countries with a low or medium Covid-19 infection and transmission rate are permitted. This is is based on the ‘high-risk’ countries list published by the government.
The directive also provides instructions around tracking and tracing of athletes, as well as general health and safety rules.
The directive also further clarifies the rules around the reopening of events in South Africa, including:
- Cinemas and theatres are allowed to open but are limited to 50% of the capacity per cinema;
- Fitness centres, gyms and swimming pools are limited to 50% of the capacity per venue;
- Gatherings for concerts and live performances are limited to 250 persons or less in case of an indoor gathering and 500 persons or less in case of an outdoor gathering: Provided that no more than 50% of the capacity of the venue is used, with persons observing a distance of at least one and a half metres from each other.
The directive also provides instructions around tracking and tracing of guests, as well as general health and safety rules.