5 new lockdown rules that every South African should know about

With South Africa now a week into its 21-day coronavirus lockdown, government has had to address a number of loopholes and issues which were introduced in its initial lockdown regulations.

These amendments impact a range of areas include transport, essential goods and the tracking of the coronavirus.

The biggest changes announced this week are outlined below.

Driving changes

The Department of Transport has published new regulations which outline the validity of motor vehicle licences and registrations during South Africa’s 21-day lockdown.

The new regulations have extended the grace period to 30 days for both driver’s licences and other types of vehicle licences.

In a raft of regulations published on Thursday (2 April), government also provided clarity on how many people are allowed to travel in a private vehicle.

The regulations now state that private vehicles shall not carry more than 60% of the licensed capacity, and that ‘all directions in respect of hygienic conditions and the limitation of exposure of persons to Covid-19, are adhered to’.

“South Africans have been encouraged to shop alone so there must be a good reason why there are two of you in a car if you are stopped and asked by traffic officials,” Department of Transport spokesperson Motlatsi Lebea told BuinessTech

He added that there should never be three people in a private car unless they meet one of the other emergency requirements that would allow them to leave their households.

Most importantly, Lebea said that should drivers should try and wear facial masks whenever driving with more than one person in a car so as to try and avoid infections.

Public transport

The Department of Transport has published new regulations which expand how many people are allowed to travel in a car during South Africa’s 21-day coronavirus lockdown.

In terms of the regulations, vehicles must reduce their maximum licensed passenger seating capacity by 70% with no masks as follows:

A minibus licensed to carry 10 passengers, is limited to carry a maximum of 7 passengers;
A minibus licensed to carry 15 passengers, is limited to carry the maximum of 10 passengers;
A midibus permitted to carry a maximum of 22 passengers, is limited to carry a maximum of 15 passengers.
A vehicle licenced to carry up to 4 passengers is limited to carrying 50% of their permissible passenger-carrying capacity.
Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula had originally announced that taxis would be allowed to travel at 100% capacity provided passengers wear masks, however this was rescinded less than a day later due to public backlash.

Relaxed travelling rules for funerals

The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs as relaxed the lockdown travelling rules to accommodate South Africans attending funerals.

Certain individuals will be allowed to move between provinces and, metropolitan and district areas for purposes of transporting a body for burial purposes. They will also stay at a hotel, lodge or guest house for the duration of the funeral or cremation.


The Department of Health has developed a national database that will allow for the tracing for people who has, or who have into contact with someone who has the coronavirus.

The database will collect personal information on South Africans when they are tested. However, the government may also ask electronic communications service providers such as mobile networks and ISPs to provide information.

The Covid-19 Tracing Database shall include all information considered necessary for the contact tracing process to be effective, including but not limited to:

First name;
Last name;
Identity number/Passport number;
Residential address;
Work address/Other addresses where they could be located;
Cellphone number;
Covid-19 test results;
The personal details of all known or suspected contacts of anyone who has tested positive for the virus.

No cigarettes

Police minister Bheki Cele has clarified that the list of essential goods which may be purchased during the lockdown does not include cigarettes.

The announcement comes after the Western Cape Government published a statement in which it indicated that cigarettes may be sold during the lockdown, but only together with essential goods.

“We urge businesses in the Western Cape not to listen to people who tell them wrong things,” said Cele. “If it is not in the national regulations, it is not allowed to happen.”


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