SA remains in lockdown with a little more freedom

To buy cigarettes legally, go for a jog without being arrested and possibly get some rotisserie chicken.
SA will move to Level 4 lockdown on May 1, with more businesses allowed to resume operations under strict health and safety guidelines. Image: Jairus Mmutle/GCIS

South Africans will still remain under lockdown with a slight easing of restrictions on select economic and public activity as the country moves from national coronavirus alert Level 5 to Level 4. 

As South Africa ends 28 days of a five-week lockdown which began on March 27, the country has a count of 3 953 cases and 75 deaths from the Covid-19 pandemic that has infected over 2 million people across the world. 

Alert system

Read or watch: LIVE ARCHIVE: President on reopening the economy after lockdown

On Thursday night President Cyril Ramaphosa said that while the lockdown has been effective in keeping numbers down, it cannot be sustained indefinitely, which is why the country will introduce a smart lockdown alert system that uses five levels to determine the movement restrictions that will be in place, based on how the virus is spreading and the healthcare system’s capacity to care for patients.

The country is currently under Level 5, with the highest risk of infection, requiring a nationwide lockdown. From May 1 the country will move to Level 4, where essential services including some businesses will be allowed to resume operations under very strict conditions. 

In summary, the alert system is as follows: 

  • Level 5 means that drastic measures are required to contain the spread of the virus to save lives.
  • Level 4 means that some activity can be allowed to resume, subject to extreme precautions required to limit community transmission and outbreaks.
  • Level 3 involves the easing of some restrictions, including on work and social activities, to address a high risk of transmission.
  • Level 2 involves the further easing of restrictions, but the maintenance of physical distancing and restrictions on some leisure and social activities to prevent a resurgence of the virus.
  • Level 1 means that most normal activity can resume, with precautions and health guidelines followed at all times. 

“To ensure that our response to the pandemic can be as precise and targeted as possible, there will be a national level and separate levels for each province, district and metro in the country.”

Ramaphosa reiterated that a gradual reopening of the economy and normalised public life cannot happen instantaneously, but requires a gradual and risk-adjusted approach informed by advice from scientists.

“We have decided on this approach because there is still much that is unknown about the rate and manner of the spread of the virus within our population,” said Ramaphosa.

Government has done an assessment on how industries rank in the various risk categories of infection.

Details will be provided by the relevant ministers, and industry bodies will be given an opportunity to make representations before new regulations are gazetted. 

Level 4 for business

While some businesses will be allowed to return to operation, they will have to adhere to strict health and safety protocols to prevent the spread of the virus.

On May 1, businesses that are permitted to resume operations must do so “in a phased manner” – they will be required to first prepare workplaces for operation, after which they can ask employees to come back to work in batches of no more than a third each time.

Businesses with staff who can work remotely are encouraged to keep this in place. 

“In some cases, a sector will not be able to return to full production during Level 4 while the risk of infection remains high,” said Ramaphosa, adding that details will be provided following final consultations next week. 

Movement in Level 4

Borders will remain closed, passenger flights will only function for the repatriation of foreign nationals, and interprovincial travel is strictly prohibited – unless it is for the transportation of goods and in exceptional circumstances such as funerals.

While public transport will continue to operate, there will be limitations on the number of people in vehicles, and safety and hygiene protocols – such as all passengers having to wear masks – will remain in place.

“Those who are elderly, and those with underlying conditions, must remain at home and take additional precautions to isolate themselves,” said Ramaphosa.

Unless doing essential work or seeking essential services the general public is also encouraged to stay at home.

People will also be allowed to exercise under strict public health conditions.

Goods and services in Level 4

Ramaphosa has also lifted the ban on the sale of cigarettes (effective May 1), adding that additional items that can be sold will be revealed by the relevant ministers. 

However, the president said irrespective of the coronavirus level in place there will be restrictions on certain activities that encourage a large gathering of people and where physical distancing will not be possible for as long as the risk of transmission is present.

As such, bars and shebeens will remain closed. Conference and convention centres, entertainment venues, cinemas and theatres will remain closed.

In addition concerts, sporting events, and religious, cultural and social gatherings will not be allowed.

“Ultimately, it is our own actions as individuals that will determine how quickly the virus spreads,” said Ramaphosa. 

“If we all adhere to instructions and follow public health guidelines, we will keep the virus under control and will not need to reinstate the most drastic restrictions.”



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Buckle up. Sounds like only about a third of the economy will be opening up. And level 4 will last for how long? We don’t know.

Certainly going to be many months before we are talking level 1, and even that has restrictions

No idea how the economy will sustain this amount of pain.

Bought a car and waiting for it to be roadworthied and licenced ?
Who knows when the dealers can trade again ??


Wonder what would happen if they realized that the TB death rate is about 20% – 300,000 people in SA infected, of which 60,000 will die this year, which is around 175 per day, every single day. It takes 6 months and longer to cure TB, if you have a treatable strain. Applying the “logic” being used for what is in comparison a very minor disease, SA would be in lock-down for the next 30000 years, with nobody being allowed near anybody else, ever.

Please don’t confuse us with facts.

You realise that this is ‘in addition to’ not ‘instead of’ TB?

Look at the US and be thankful.

The reason our death and infection rate is so low is that we locked down early.
If we delayed just by a few weeks we could be seeing exponential more cases than what we are seeing now.

Asian countries are seeing lower numbers compared to western countries is because they implemented lockdown and travel measures nearly the instant the first case was announced.

No. It is because you do early in the process. You will only reach peak in September. The lockdown will have achieved nothing but economic misery

Zokey, I won’t question your views on the government since I agree. However, to ALL those who speculate that the death rate is 0.001% etc please do some maths. Go to COVID-19 live. Globally, of the 760k closed cases there about 200k deaths. That’s 37%.

Now it can’t be that high in the long run since not all active cases will result in deaths. If there are no deaths, this becomes 20% (which is about world average) (260/2747). Now, you can’t say ALL active cases wont result in deaths so maybe the death rate is between 20% to 37% at the moment.

How is this less than 1%? Maths is not like the commercial slogan “a little goes a long way”. A little maths knowledge goes little way!

Garbage in, garbage out…

…..the country has a count of 3 953 cases and 75 deaths from the Covid-19 “pandemic”

All considered, maybe the economy should pause every year over the April holiday period road death count

or just lower the speed limit to 5km/hr. It’s getting that crazy now to save lives of people who will otherwise die anyway

Let’s remember that this a brand new virus, so caution had to be taken. Next time we can be more reckless. Also this is a global epidemic, so there is a track record of how to do things right (Singapore, South Korea, China) and how to badly mismanage this pandemic (US, Italy, Spain, etc).

This is the one time we can be proud of our government and Health Department. South Africa was very vulnerable to this desease due to our excepctionally high HIV rate, TB, Blood Pressure / obesity.

Had we not taken those drastic steps, we could be having a catastrophe right now. The sad thing is that it may still come to that, this is not over yet. But so far so good.

The economy will recover eventually if we the right things. Sometimes it takes something as drastic as this virus to shake us up and rethink how we do things. I am hoping we will not waste this opportunity to revive our economy.


You start opening businesses and keep the consumer in lockdown.

The ENCA “Anchor” this morning showed in a nutshell what the understanding of the whole thing is.

A fresh produce market on the Bluff in Durban had an unfortunate lady that tested positive for the Waairas. She was sent to hospital for test and the shop was closed.

ENCA asked how the management allowed the woman to get so sick that she had to go to hospital? Blaming management for her getting infected and not keeping her safe. Wonder where else BUT A F@#$%^& HOSPITAL did he think she should be tested?

They should not let there people work unsupervised this ENCA.

Is every store going to be closed after an infection?

So we are told not to stockpile food? What will you eat when all the stores have been closed??

The ministers, police and defense force will NEVER understand this system. Its just to complicated.

The best was last week when the one brainless ‘anchor’ said how dare Moody’s downgrade us ‘when we are down’. As if the virus has ANYTHING to do with the downgrade.

Some people are just born to be useful idiot apologists for the State.

“Is every store going to be closed after an infection” – obviously not. There are a thousand other places to buy at the moment – so not a problem if one closes for a few days to clean up. Even a child and the ANC government can see the need for a balance. No need to panic about silly hpotheticals. You are working yourself up over nothing. Like a useful idiot.

Last nights waffle was not worth watching.

We have ministers pulling over a million a year and not one is ready to present anything concrete. Have they not had a think tank, a brainstorming session, oops sorry that is not possible.

all pie in the sky. Are Ace and David waiting for the %00 billion to appear and loot a bit before some direction is given.

Poor show Cyril, we expected something on the table, we have made plans, unlike your lot, but can only go ahead after you and your lot have made some decisions.

4 weeks later and no direction, just imagine next weeks announcements.

Can we jog? Can we buy cooked chicken and a warm pie?

That does not help my factory or the worker I need to contact in Limpopo or in the Northern Cape.


And 4 weeks later we earmarked R20 billion to fight the waairas and R480 billion to try and fix the fallout from the lockdown.

That is African National Council maths. Flattening the curve is great. It means we will have to deal with this waairas for a much longer time.

You think they budgeted for that while flattening the curve?

It’s a real problem when your leader has difficulty in putting a mask on so I am not holding my breath.

They have this curve thing so wrong, but it cinfuses people so they don,t ask questions.

All it means is less infections/deaths per day over a longer period, in the end the same deaths/infections.

Let it spike and be done.

Listen to this Swedish professor and how Sweden does it. But they have a well organised and functional healthcare system. Not the case in the public sector in RSA. They dream of a NHI but as long as you have looting, corruption etc it will be a massive drain on the small number of taxpayers. Pipe dream
And when a president talks to adults like they are sub A children it shows to me what level government functions at. Remember what R W Johnstone wrote about the cabinet intellect

Did you want him to read the 40 page document that was distributed with the speech? Really? Just because you get all your info from the mass media catering to the lowest common denominator doesn’t mean that is all the info there is. Do you think he was calling for submissions by business in response to the info in his speech only? Wow. SA education system…

Literally all of your questions were answered in the speech. Document has the details for business.

No use of a ‘partial lift’ of the lockdown.We need level 1.Thousands of workers in the pub/restaurant/bottlestore sector can’t work.More bottlestores will be looted.

Just admit you are luss for alcohol and we can work on it from there.

All the alcies suddenly developing compassion for waiters and bottle store workers and gardeners, but very quiet about other workers. I love it.

Yes i have a lust for beer and a double Bacardi and coke and Gin and dry lemon.

I have the impression Mr. Ramaphosa feels like a hero for saving lives by shutting down the SA economy. Well, the lock down actually did save lives, i.e. during the lock down the murder rate dropped substantially, for now.
So far ca. 100 SAns became victims of the virus. This is almost the number of people getting killed on average in two days in SA, i.e. 116. In other words 700.000 people get murdered every year in SA.
The latest numbers from New York indicate the virus’ mortality rate appears to be between 0.5 and 1%.
Children are not affected by the virus, so we can assume ca. 30mill SAns are affected. This means potentially 1.5mill to 3mill SAns could be killed by the virus.
So 700.000 SAns got murdered every year (and ca. 100.000 die from TBC), but Mr. Ramaphosa or his predecessors never locked down the country until the murder rate dropped to a level that is more in line with more civilized countries.
We are being told that the government will take care of the poor people during these tough times and that we are in this together. Mr. Ramaphosa has even reduced his salary by one third. Not sure whether this was before or after the suggested salary increase from R2.99mill to about R3.1mill a year, but lets not count peanuts.
The devastating effect these lock downs will have on the world economy and particularly SA’s economy are difficult to imagine.
The world’s central planners believe they can kick start the economy by printing unlimited amounts of money and everything will be just fine. Lets ignore the fact that all this money usually ends up in the same bank accounts. Unlike during the last 20 years of extreme money printing however, these billions that are supposed to stimulate demand, will meet an interrupted supply chain and thousands of closed small services businesses.
This was exactly the situation in Weimar Germany (and Zimbabwe).

I try to prepare myself for consumer price inflation measured in double digits or worse and a 50% permanent unemployment rate in SA.
“Ultimately, it is our own actions as individuals that will determine how quickly the virus spreads”.
As a “high risk” member of the pubic I do agree Mr. Ramaphosa.

You realise that this is (a) very infectious and (b) in *addition* to murder and TBC (whatever that is – I assume TB) not *instead* of murder and TB. You also live in a failed country with a high prevalence of HIV, TB, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and poor air and water quality. You need every precaution you can get. Especially as a high risk old person who left this legacy for its offspring.

You don’t think that the low numbers might have something to do with what you were forced to do? It is like jumping from a plane with a parachute and then deciding the parachute was useless because it slowed you down. Very typical of the older generation publicly schooled in SA.

Cue the Liberal flower pickers praising Cyril again..

yeah, they are almost as boring as those that whine either way trying to sway people’s opinion on the heavily pro-anc platforms and braais that he frequents. A true armchair hero whos mindless meowings are not taken seriously anymore and have faded into the background noise.

Have you recently discovered Moneyweb’s comment section?

south africa is not truely a democracy..if it were julius malema would be in power

End of comments.





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