State of Disaster vs Lockdown (COVID-19) Munsoft Perspective

The following is a perspective from Munsoft on the status and the application of legislation that is made to combat the spread of COVID-19.

On 15 March 2020 President Ramaphosa declared a national state of disaster. This meant that the provisions section 27 of the Disaster Management Act became effective, allowing the government to take the necessary measures to address the disaster (COVID-19) and to effect legislation to enable it to enforce the measures imposed. After the declaration of a state of disaster, numerous Regulations and amendments to other legislation were promulgated, of which the lockdown provisions form part, to implement the measures to curb the spread of the virus.

The lockdown is scheduled to end on 16 April 2020, but may also be extended should the government choose to. This national state of disaster will not necessarily end on 16 April 2020. A national state of disaster lapses three months after it has been declared or may be terminated or extended for one month at a time by the Minister by notice in the Gazette before it lapses or the existing extension is due to expire.

It is important to distinguish between the national state of disaster and the lockdown provisions when determining when the limitations imposed by legislative amendments will cease. For example, the exemption from National Treasury for the provisions of the MFMA as promulgated 2020/03/30 will apply until the termination/lapsing of the national state of disaster.

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