President Cyril Ramaphosa to address the nation this week

January 11, 2021


Here is what we know so far.

The state of disaster is set to expire on Friday, 15 January. Naturally, as South Africa is approaching the peak of the second wave of infections, the government is sure to extend the disaster period again.

The question on most South Africans’ minds is, however, what will the new regulations look like? During the past week, the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) has met and had discussions about the way forward. Although no official word has surfaced from these meetings yet, various reports about what the country is to expect has emerged.

Move to level 4 possible

Mixed reports have come out regarding a possible move to level 4 of the national lockdown. According to an unknown source who spoke to Bloomberg, Ministers Bheki Cele and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma have asked the NCCC to move the country to level 4 of the lockdown.

Earlier this week, though, the ANC NEC resolved not to move the country into another hard lockdown. Although they did not specifically mention exact levels in their statement on the matter, it seems that a hard lockdown might exclusively refer to level 5.

The SA Medical Association has also released a statement stating that a harder lockdown would not serve any real purpose. They asked the NCCC to keep the country on level 3, with certain additional restrictions. According to the Association, level 3 of the lockdown is sufficient in alleviating some of the pressure on hospitals.

Other news outlets have suggested that certain parts of the country might be pushed to level 4, while others will remain on an adjusted level 3.

Travel bans

Many people are returning home from their holiday destinations. This is causing a spike in infections in provinces like Gauteng. The President might introduce a ban on inter-provincial travel when he addresses the nation soon.

If the country does indeed move to level 4 of the lockdown, provincial borders will indeed be closed with certain exceptions for the transportation of goods and those going to funerals.

It is unclear whether international borders will be closed, but South Africa is banned from travelling to and from many countries due to the new variant in the country. SA travellers are banned from going to the UK, Denmark, Vietnam, Turkey and Germany, to name but a few.

Prohibition on alcohol

South Africa is facing its third outright ban on alcohol. Although it is effective, seeing as trauma cases have gone down significantly since the ban was introduced, it is crippling the alcohol industry. Associations in the sector have said that billions of rands are being lost in sales and countless jobs are being lost too.

Organisations like The Liquor Traders Formation have called on the government to allow at-home consumption of alcohol. They have suggested that restrictions to the amount of alcohol people may purchase and the days on which they must do so should be implemented.

The Beer Association of South Africa has also suggested to the government that they be allowed to use a “click-and-collect” platform to allow for the safe, responsible sale of alcohol.

These matters were discussed by the NCCC on Wednesday, 6 January. At the ANC’s 109th Anniversary which was held virtually this year on 8 January, President Ramaphosa again confirmed that the ban on alcohol is effective. He also called for a review of liquor legislation.

Liquor traders have called for the ban to be lifted as well, saying that many businesses will be forced to close if they cannot trade.

The Presidency has not yet announced when the President will address the nation.