It’s official: National state of disaster extended as SA reopens land borders

Twenty of SA’s land borders – which were closed in January due to a spike in Covid-19 cases – have officially been reopened followed the publication of a government gazette at the weekend.
Image: Supplied

Cogta minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has officially extended the Disaster Management Act for another month.

In a statement last week, the cabinet said it had agreed to extend the legislation — under which all Covid-19 regulations fall — until March 15.

Dlamini-Zuma on Thursday published a gazette officially enacting this decision.

The extension of the legislation was done “taking into account the need to continue augmenting the existing legislation and contingency arrangements undertaken by organs of state to address the impact of the disaster”.

The biggest change to the regulations, as announced on Saturday, was the reopening of SA’s 20 land borders which were shut on January 11.

Making the announcement, home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi said that anyone arriving at a border with a fake Covid-19 test result would be turned back and barred from SA for at least five years.

Gazetted regulations giving authority to this announcement were published on Saturday. Among other things, the regulations state that anyone who comes through the border must comply with screening, isolation and quarantine protocols, if required, must wear a mask, and must follow rules around social distancing and sanitising.

Another of the new regulations in Saturday’s gazette are that people returning for work must be “phased in, in order to put in place measures to make the workplace Covid-19 ready”. It repeats an earlier regulation that those who can work from home “must do so”.

The regulations also make “specific exclusions” of activities that are not permitted in hotspot areas. These include:

  • Night vigils;
  • After-funeral gatherings, including “after tears” events;
  • All social gatherings;
  • Political events and traditional community meetings (izimbizo);
  • Nightclubs;
  • The 33 land borders that remain closed;
  • Passenger ships for international leisure; and
  • Attendance of sports events by spectators.

by Matthew Savides

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