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COVID-19: Regulations in terms of the South African Disaster Management Act

19 March 2020
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The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, designated under section 3 of the Disaster Management Act, 2002 (DMA), having previously declared a state of disaster on 15 March 2020, has released Regulations in terms of section 27(2) of the DMA (the Regulations) regarding the steps necessary to prevent an escalation of the disaster. These Regulations are effective as at 18 March 2020 and available here.

The Regulations provide for:

  • the release of resources and funds by the Department of Defence, institutions within national, provincial and local government and treasuries;
  • the prohibition on gatherings over 100 people or over 50 people where liquor is sold, coupled with arrest and detention empowering provisions;
  • non-refusal for submission to medical examinations, admission to health establishments or quarantine or isolation and treatment, with empowering provisions on the police, the Defence Force, peace officers and magistrates;
  • a limitation on the sale, dispensing and transportation of liquor;
  • various Ministers to perform a number actions including issuing directions on various matters (regulation 10); and
  • other matters including (i) closing schools between 18 March and 15 April (subject to extension), (ii) suspending visits by members of the public to correctional and other centres for 30 days; (iii) placing obligations on the Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure, Members of Executive Council and accounting officers of municipalities to identify and make available places of isolation and quarantine; and (iv) emergency procurement procedures (regulation 9).

The Regulations provide for a number of offences and penalties, i.e. (i) convening gatherings; (ii) obstructing an enforcement officer; (iii) failure to comply with closure of schools and emergency procurement procedures; (iv) misrepresenting whether he/ she or any other person is infected; (v) publishing any statement with the intention to deceive around COVID-19 or any measure taken by Government to address COVID-19, may result in a fine and imprisonment up to six months. Intentionally exposing others to COVID-19  may result in an offence of assault, attempted murder or murder.