On 15 March 2020, the head of the National Disaster Management Centre classified the Covid-19 pandemic a national disaster in terms of the Disaster Management Act, 2002 (DM Act). On that date, the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Minister of CGTA) declared a national state of disaster and provided for the making of regulations and issuance of directions in support thereof. The national state of disaster was to lapse in terms of the DM Act on 15 June 2020, however the Minister of CGTA extended the national state of disaster one month, to 15 July 2020. The national state of disaster was extended for another month, until 15 August 2020.
Regulations, Directions and Guidelines
There has been a succession of regulations, directions, and guidelines published by the Minister of CGTA, other Ministers, and government institutions since 15 March 2020 in support of the Covid-19 disaster. The current main Covid-19 disaster regulations were published on 29 April 2020, and formalized the idea of alert levels, and set out provisions for alert level 4, which was in place for the entirety of May 2020. Alert level 3 commenced on 1 June 2020, and provisions for alert level 3 were set out in regulations published 28 May 2020, and amended on 25 June 2020, and amended again on 12 July 2020.
The main regulatory provisions relating to workplaces for the alert level 3 time period are set out in the Consolidated Covid-19 Direction on Health and Safety in the Workplace (Consolidated Direction) published by the Minister of Employment and Labour on 4 June 2020. These are supplemented for the film production and similar sectors by the Directions issued by the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture in respect of the Live-Streaming of the Creative Sector Services. For the ICT sectors, the supplemental directions are found in the Amendment of Directions on the Risk-Adjusted Strategy for the Communications and Digital Technology Sector.
Guidance for Business Operations
The regulations and directions, as well as guidelines issued by the Department of Health, and guidance issued by the Information Regulatory, and others, collectively provide what businesses must do and what they cannot do, to comply and assist in containing the spread of the Covid-19 virus.