South African businesses can continue operating remotely from home during lockdown

The Department of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) has published amendments to South Africa’s lockdown regulations, clarifying a number of key points for businesses and individuals.

As BusinessTech reports, one of the biggest changes relates to regulation 11B which states that all businesses must cease operations, except if they are classified as an essential service.

This caused confusion and concern among businesses as it effectively prohibited employees from working from home. The latest amendments have confirmed this was simply an oversight and now indicate that South Africans can continue to work remotely from their normal place of residence.

Notable amendments include:

  • Businesses and their employees are now permitted to conduct business from wherever they are, be it at home or overseas.
  • Businesses should have measures in place for essential maintenance and care – and work done in this regard is considered an essential service. If the minister for trade and industry promulgates regulations in this respect, that should be adhered to.
  • The list of essential services has been expanded – and now includes, “critical maintenance services which cannot be delayed for more than 21 days and are essential to resume operations after the lockdown”. Certain call-centre, harvesting and other agricultural activities, certain financial services, and several other business-activities are now allowed.
  • Private vehicles shall not carry more than 60% of their licensed capacity, and that all directions in respect of hygienic conditions and the limitation of exposure of persons to COVID-19 are adhered to.
  • Restaurants are now included in Annexure D of the regulation, classifying them as closed to the public. Civil society group Sakeliga noted that this is an opportunity for government to permit restaurants to prepare food for delivery – as was the case even under strict measures imposed in China.

The changes come after South Africa announced its first coronavirus-related deaths, while total confirmed cases have topped 1,000.

The two deaths occurred in the Western Cape, one at a private hospital and the other at a public hospital. Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said more information would follow soon.

You can read the amendments below.

COGTA Regulation amendments by BusinessTech on Scribd

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South African businesses can continue operating remotely from home during lockdown