Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, has extended the national state of disaster by one month.
The national state of disaster was set to expire today, but Dlamini-Zuma has now extended it until 15 September 2020.
This, she said, was done taking into account the need to continue augmenting the existing legislation and contingency arrangements undertaken by organs of state to address the impact of the disaster.
Dlamini-Zuma made the declaration under Section 27(1) and Section 27(2) of the Disaster Management Act, 2002.
Section 27 of the Disaster Management Act states, among other things:
A national state of disaster that has been declared in terms of subsection (1)
(a) lapses three months after it has been declared.
(b) may be terminated by the Minister by notice in the Gazette before it lapses.
(c) may be extended by the Minister by notice in the Gazette for one month at a time before it lapses.
The national state of disaster extension is necessary to ensure the current lockdown regulations will remain in force.
Legal expert Daniel Pretorius, a partner at Bowmans, explained that the regulations rely on the state of disaster.
“The regulations will only remain in force for as long as there is a state of disaster. If the state of disaster is not extended, the regulations will lapse,” said Pretorius.
Pretorius added that there is no restriction on the number of times the Minister may extend the state of disaster.
This means Dlamini-Zuma can extend the state of disaster, one month at a time, for as long as she deems it necessary to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.