21-Day Lockdown - Everything You Need To Know
Updated: Mar 31
South Africa will enter a 21-day lockdown, starting at midnight on 27 March 2020 until 16 April 2020, in order to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus, or as it’s more commonly known, Coronavirus.
South African ministers engaged with media on Wednesday 25 March 2020 to provide maximum clarity on what will and will not be allowed during the lockdown period.
Here is everything you need to know:
1. Non-essential Movement
Movement will be allowed for essential activities like going to the store for groceries, visiting a doctor or pharmacy for medical attention and collecting grants. However, Police Minister Bheki Cele emphasised the consequences of participating in non-essential movements, such as dog-walking or jogging. Discussions with his security team deemed the activities counter-intuitive to the lockdown. Social gatherings will also be prohibited except for funerals, where a 50-person limit will apply to the ceremony.
Roadblocks will be set-up on provincial and national roads in order to enforce the ban on movement between provinces, metros and district areas. These roadblocks will be accompanied by health officials who will be screening people for the COVID-19 virus. The individuals that are exempt from these restrictions include essential service staff, such as emergency services and healthcare workers, service delivery staff and police. Cross-border movement will be banned, with exceptions for essential goods and cargo.
2. Public Transport
According to Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, public transport services such as minibus taxis and e-hailing services such as Uber and Taxify will be limited to the public during the 21-day lockdown. Minibus taxis will only be allowed to transport people for essential trips, such as providing essential services or buying groceries, between 05:00 to 09:00 and 16:00 to 20:00. Busses will also be limited.
Vehicles licensed to carry up to four people will only be permitted to load one person. A vehicle licensed to carry up to eight passengers will only be permitted to load a maximum of three passengers. It is important to designate a member of the household who will be responsible for going out for essential trips.
Courier services will continue to be active during the lockdown, however their services will only be applicable for essential goods.
3. Liquor, Cigarettes and Groceries
Police Minister Bheki Cele reiterated that the sale and purchase of liquor and cigarettes will be prohibited at all shops. Shops are only permitted to sell essential food and goods, whereas non-essential goods, such as clothing, will not be allowed.
Any store that does not sell essential products or services will be closed for the 21-day lockdown.
4. Public and Private Facilities To Be Closed
Places that accommodate high volumes of people such as hotels, casinos, restaurants, shebeens, cinemas, shopping malls, parks, beaches and public swimming pools will be closed.
5. Drivers Licenses
Fikile Mbalula mentioned that licensing and testing centres will be closed. In the event that your driver’s license expires during the lockdown, it will remain valid for a 14-day grace period after the end of the lockdown.
6. Domestic Violence
With the lockdown in place, some may find themselves feeling unsafe in their homes. There have been several mechanisms put into place to minimise the impact of domestic violence situations.
A hotline has been set up for the gender-based violence command centre. Victims can call 0800 428 428 for assistance. Cele said there was a possibility of an escalation in gender-based violence during this period and added that the police's Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences unit was beefed up.
Victims can call 0800 150 150 for an urgent response.
7. Report Crime
The 10111 emergency line will remain active during the lockdown, meaning that people will still be able to report crimes. Although the police and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) will be on foot patrols, people can also report contraventions of lockdown regulations.