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Lockdown: Govt relaxes rules for more businesses to trade

Mines, refineries, ports, certain call centres, DIY stores and ‘essential’ repair service businesses may now operate.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma says the ‘loosening’ of some trade restrictions is part of a phased approach to lifting the lockdown. Image: Supplied

Several amendments to South Africa’s Covid-19 national lockdown rules, which will see more businesses allowed to operate during the lockdown, were announced by government ministers during a Covid-19 National Command Council briefing in Pretoria on Thursday.

The amendments will see certain key industries such as mining, oil refineries and ports being allowed to partially resume operations or increase production ahead of the lifting of the lockdown.

In addition, several other businesses, such as DIY stores, locally-based call centres servicing international clients; call centres handling finance and insurance queries for retailers; as well as “essential service” repair and maintenance providers such as electricians, plumbers and mechanics will now be able to operate during the lockdown on a restricted basis.

Addressing the briefing, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, stressed that the “loosening” of some trade restrictions was part of a phased approach in lifting the lockdown. However, she cautioned that some measures would remain in place beyond the lockdown.

“Everything won’t immediately be back to normal after the lockdown,” she warned.

“When we do stop the lockdown, we cannot do it abruptly – t­hat today we’re in complete lockdown [and] tomorrow it’s open completely … We have to phase-in so that there is an orderly move towards normality.”

The national lockdown, which is targeted at restricting the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic and has forced thousands of businesses to close, was extended from 21 days to 35 days by President Cyril Ramaphosa last week.

Read: South Africans urged to ‘endure a little longer’ as lockdown extended

With Thursday, April 30, now being the last day of the lockdown, and May Day being a public holiday, the first full business day is likely to be Monday, May 4. However, some restrictions to trade, travel and the size of events are likely to remain in place for a while until government gets a better understanding of the growth trajectory of the virus in the country.

Dlamini-Zuma noted at the briefing that with the lockdown being extended, special regulations relating to it have now also been extended to the end of April.

“We are not coming up with many new [lockdown] regulations, we are extending the regulations that exist … However, we [are] announcing a few amendments to those regulations,” she said.

She added that further amendments will be made each week for a gradual relaxation of the lockdown rules.

On South Africa’s ports, Dlamini-Zuma said they would now be allowed increase operations beyond essential services. This is in order to deal with cargo that may be stuck at the ports, so there aren’t major bottlenecks once the lockdown comes to an end.

Giving some detail on the relaxation of lockdown rules around mining operations, Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe said mines that had to shut would now be allowed to restart operation up to 50% capacity.

Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe. Image: Supplied

He noted that coal mines suppling Eskom with coal for its power stations needed to operate as normal from the start of the lockdown due to these mines being regarded an essential service. However, the mines had to institute stringent measures around preventing the spread of Covid-19.

Other mining operations, such as gold and platinum, that are being allowed to restart operations will now also have to follow these stringent measures.

Even though these mines can restart production ahead of the end of the lockdown, Mantashe said in response to a question that he believed SA’s mining sector would only be back to full capacity in “deep May”.

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They can’t stop the lockdown abruptly? Why not? Saturday and Sunday we don’t work but Monday we abruptly go to work?

And kids still can’t buy learning essentials like printers and ink ???

They can. Online stores are supplying.

Are people still using printers and ink in 2020?

My question too. The lockdown was imposed abruptly. Nothing phased in about that so what new nonsense is this?

So these life and death decisions are left to 2 clueless ANC clowns with a terrible track record showing no brains or common sense..What happened to the experts at “command centre central”. ANC is useless.

I would like to know why we are being coerced into shopping for essentials “only at your nearest store.” My nearest store is a Spar that is generally more expensive than the Pick ‘n Pay two km further down the road or the Checkers just a few km in the opposite direction. Driving to either of them in my closed car would not affect the spread or otherwise of the disease in any way.

I am guessing a minister’s car broke down, another one had a burst geyser and a third maybe needs a new light.
Hence: essential services expanded

Commendable decision to open up ports to make space for the movement of essential services. However, I am disappointed that the fast-food industry was left out on the bench (not that I am a fan of fast-food). The industry could help provide additional food capacity as well as cushion the job losses of most vulnerable people (waitors/waitresses/chefs/delivery personnel).

So we have convinced ourselves that the daily average of infection is flattened at 3+% the problem is that over the last 5 days we have had nearly 600 (577 to be exact) new infections, or 1 fifth of our total infections since the beginning of March. Our numbers are an absolute joke and we are making critical decisions with poor data and bad implementation strategies on this. Has anybody asked how there is such disparity between the numbers of Gauteng and provinces like the North-West, Limpopo and Mpumalanga when so many people left Gauteng at the announcement of the shutdown and moved back to these very provinces. Another question that needs to be answered while we are patting ourselves on the back about our victory against the Coronoa Virus, how have we only done 95000 tests out of a population of nearly 55 million people as this equates to less than 1% our population. Why does it feel like there is major change coming in the Corona saga?

Public health is useless.
Hence the low testing numbers. This is also the real reason why they extended the lockdown.

The low numbers in the outer provinces is lack of testing. A more useful role for the army one would imagine but then Bheki doesnt get to live out his African dictator fantasy.

Moneyweb, why do you refuse to post my comment below…….is there too much truth in there….?…..mmm…….obviously we are onto something here, which confirms we should be questioning this whole Covid agenda even more

@JUMP123…….huh ? ….here are some facts to consider before jumping on the fear bandwagon being pushed oh so dearly by those in power:

1. Authorities have admitted Covid is a flu strain
2. Flu kills millions of people globally every year, and thousands in SA every year [exact same infection rate/same numbers as this latest buzzword ‘Covid’ ]
3.Flu mortality rate is +-2% of contracted [ usually old/already compromised etc ]
4. Based on the Covid figures to date, we still have thousands to go before annual flu has even reached its usual count here in SA [ winter might see it spike ]
5. Check Euromomo site if you still not sure [ indicates Europe deaths, in line with flu figures for every year ]

@Realitybites …….huh ? ….so my intention was not to fear-mongering, actually my point was merely to state that we cannot take decisions that effect this country unless we have accurate information WHICH we don’t.
Secondly, the issue is not whether this is a flu strain.
Actually, this is about the contagiousness and the fact that people are dying from this. Moreover there will probably not be a vaccine for this in 2020 and that means that our health system will continously be under threat until such a time.
Lastly, South Africa has enough problems with out people nonchalantly say this is a FLU-Virus and treating it as if this something that will pass tomorrow.

@Jump123 who wrote:

“so my intention was not to fear-mongering, actually my point was merely to state that we cannot take decisions that effect this country unless we have accurate information WHICH we don’t.”

Well, depends where you getting your information from

“Secondly, the issue is not whether this is a flu strain.”

Oh yes, it is

“Actually, this is about the contagiousness and the fact that people are dying from this.”

Wow really ??

And what are the traditional historical flu figures as pointed out already in my comment above

Covid isnt even close yet !

“Moreover there will probably not be a vaccine for this in 2020”

Sorry, but you can’t cure a flu with a vaccine

“Lastly, South Africa has enough problems with out people nonchalantly say this is a FLU-Virus and treating it as if this something that will pass tomorrow.”

Mmm, pity the masses who are getting their info from MSM and government

Two very trusted sources of course !

And, try posting alternative viewpoints indicating anything contrary to the official narrative

If this ‘plandemic’ will bring anything to the fore, it’s the true state of democracy in the world as it stands today that will be tested

Watch this space

What about the Dept of Labour call centre? Will that now be open to process all the people wanting to claim for unemployment as a result of this lockdown?

Me thinks this govt is actually getting perverse pleasure from this lockdown-absolute control on peoples lives, troops in the street bullying people , acting clever when they are actually clueless etc etc
Wait until the numbers explosion after the lockdown when people come out of the cramped squatter camps.
Those whites who were praising CR are going to be eating their words

With all due respect, sir/madam, what do you propose the government must do?

Open the economy on a risk based and not a control based assessment.
Sure there is a high risk when people are crowded together at say a sport venue, so this can be prohibited, however
there is no extra risk for a customer shopping for a tube of silicone at a store than one shopping for a loaf of bread providing the same protocols are followed, its ludicrous now, make rules that make sense to people.

This virus have achieved many prayed for positives like working crowd control, obeying, locking up people, smoking, and alcohol misuse.
Crime to have seeing a real drop. Gates deserve a Nobel.

Its a much tougher decision to take the fight to the enemy but the collective must have the courage so that the worker warriors can put their lives on the line for the survival of the nation.
You cannot defeat the enemy by hiding in a dark cave and hoping that it will just go away. Even with the lock down the numbers go up. The virus is there and will still be there no matter how long the people and the economy are so cruelly confined.
All of the people need to help with the fight. Bullying and rule by fear will alienate them. Communication of the precautions to be followed must continue in order to limit the contagion.
The indications appear to suggest that a final mortality rate caused directly by this particular virus of not more than 0.2% of total population should be expected if diligence with precautions is maintained.
There is also an expectation from the discoverer of the HIV virus that this virus will not sustain more than a few months.

End of comments.

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