Government accepts Sakeliga’s proposed amendments to lockdown-regulations 

Businesspeople and their employees are now allowed to work from home. This, and other corrections and concessions as published earlier today, are in line with Sakeliga’s insistence in several public calls and letters of demand to national departments. 

Other corrections and concessions include that critical maintenance should also be considered an essential service. Business and the public’s right to claim damages against erroneous applications of the law has now been restored as well.

“Sakeliga welcomes the promulgation of these amendments. We will, however, still be in communication with several national departments on other regulations – and hope to see some improvement and corrections in those respects as well,” say Piet le Roux, CEO of Sakeliga.

The amended regulations were published earlier this morning in the government gazette (notice 419) by Dr Nkosozana Dlamini-Zuma, minister of co-operative government and traditional affairs.

Sakeliga emphasises the importance of the following amendments in the regulations’ latest iteration:

  • Regulation 11B(1)(b): businesses and their employees are now permitted to conduct business from wherever they are, be it at home or overseas.
  • Regulation 11B(4A)(a): 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.
  • Regulation 11E: This regulation, which sought to preclude claims for damages incurred by bona fide application of the regulations, has been scrapped. This scrapping is in line with Sakeliga’s letter of demand to the minister to not preclude claims for constitutional damages – and that the regulations are to comply with reasonableness and legality.
  • Annexure B: The list of essential services has been expanded – and now includes, for instance, “critical maintenance services which cannot be delayed for more than 21 days and are essential to resume operations after the lockdown”. Certain call-centres, harvesting and other agricultural activities, certain financial services, and several other business-activities are now allowed.
  • Annexure D:  Restaurants are now included in Annexure D of the regulation, classifying them as closed to the public. 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. This would serve Government’s purpose to prevent large conglomerations of people, as well as supporting small businesses, such as restaurants and delivery services.

“We expect a further easing of regulations as well as an expansion of the definition of essential services in the coming days and weeks. An economy is a majestic, integrated affair that cannot easily be split into essential and non-essential parts. We know and can see in the regulations that the inputs of several other industry and business groups have also been considered – an encouraging sign of the resilience of business in South Africa,” says Le Roux.

“Sakeliga is one of the largest business organisations in South Africa, with a network and membership of more than 15 000 drawn from mostly small and medium-size enterprises. We are proud to be the voice of these businesses and will continue to make proposals and act firmly where necessary. The regulations must enable the economy to pick up and recover as soon as possible, in the interest of the well-being of everyone in South Africa and the world who benefits from the productivity of the local economy,” Le Roux concludes.

Read the document here.