Expect weekly updates as lockdown gradually lifts in South Africa

South Africans should expect weekly updates on lockdown restrictions which will be relaxed as more sectors come online, as we move towards 30 April.

This is according to Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who was speaking at a media briefing.

“Because we are going to be opening up the lockdown in an incremental manner, we are going to be announcing every week which areas are being opened incrementally and the conditions of those opening,” Dlamini-Zuma said.

“Expect that almost every week new areas will be coming on stream, but some will remain in place for a very long time.”

The restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus will remain largely unchanged for the moment, with initial changes affecting the mining and transport sectors.

Lockdown amendments

Dlamini-Zuma said that all the mines which supply Eskom’s power stations with coal will return to full operation, as well as fuel refineries, furnaces, and smelters.

“Because the lockdown is going to be opened gradually, we need to make sure that there is fuel for people to move,” she said.

She added it is important that ICT workers who are needed to repair hardware and render essential services can now return to work, and this has been accommodated in the amended regulations.

The minister said vehicles used to deliver essential services will also be allowed to be repaired.

Additionally, a wider range of call centres will be allowed to resume operations – such as the call centres used by retailers which offer customers accounts and insurance products.

Suffering ecommerce industry

The national lockdown has had a big impact on a variety of sectors, especially the ecommerce industry.

Speaking at the media briefing, Minister of Trade and Industry Ebrahim Patel said the gradual reintroduction of goods is being reviewed – but he could not specify which goods would become available as the lockdown restrictions ease.

Takealot CEO Kim Reid and a number of ecommerce companies have called on the government to allow them to sell non-essential products.

Reid said he is in favour of shops that are currently allowed to sell essential items being able to sell the non-essential goods they stock, too.

“We’re hoping we’ll see some relaxation with the new regulations for the lockdown extension,” Reid said.

While no change to the restrictions on ecommerce companies has been announced, Patel said the restrictions are constantly being reviewed and would be eased gradually as the end of the lockdown approaches.

Now read: Takealot takes R350-million hit because of lockdown

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Expect weekly updates as lockdown gradually lifts in South Africa