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New level 1 lockdown changes for South Africa – including sport events, religious gatherings and work rules

| Legislation

Government has published a series of directives which update the country’s lockdown rules in a number of areas, including the opening of borders, sports and religious gatherings.

The directives come as the country further eases its level 1 lockdown restrictions to allow for the reopening of borders and entry of international tourists.

These new lockdown rules are outlined in more detail below.

Sports and international events

With the opening of the country’s borders, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has published a new directive allowing for the resumption of some international sports.

The directive states that sport, arts and culture activities, including both professional and non-professional matches, by recognised sporting bodies, are allowed, subject to the following:

  • International sport, arts and culture events must involve countries with a low or medium Covid-19 infection and transmission rate are allowed;
  • International sport, arts and culture events involving countries with a high Covid-19 infection and transmission rate are prohibited.

Religious gatherings

Dlamini-Zuma has also published a directive which further details the restrictions around the religious gatherings.

The directive states that:

  • Religious gatherings are limited to 250 persons or less in the case of an indoor gathering and 500 persons or less in the case of an outdoor gathering, provided that not more than 50% of the capacity of the venue is used, with persons observing a distance of at least one and a half metres from each other, and subject to the conditions outlined in these directions;
  • Religious organisations should, where possible, convene services through virtual platforms, including online and social media, to avoid large gatherings and to continue to reach those individuals who are self -isolating or particularly vulnerable to Covid-19;
  • Religious gatherings may be conducted in succession either indoors or outdoors or both indoors and outdoors simultaneously, provided there is at least one hour between services.

The directive also places specific responsibilities on religious leaders or persons in charge of places of worship.

This includes rules around the screening, personal protection, the taking of communion and sharing of liquids, and additional health protocols.

Notably, every religious leader or person in charge of the place of worship must ensure that there is no physical contact between persons at the place of worship, including handshaking and hugging.

Work rules 

Labour minister Thulas Nxesi has published a directive outlining the occupational health and safety rules for the remainder of the country’s state of disaster.

The directive serves to consolidate a number of the existing rules around the return to work, including:

  • Risk-assessments for employees;
  • Screening protocols;
  • Isolation and guidelines for returning to work;
  • Administrative rules;
  • Rules around social distancing;
  • Health and hygiene protocols.

Nxesi said that this directive will remain in effect for the remainder of the country’s state of disaster.


Transport minister Fikile Mbalula has published a number of directives that deal with the opening up of South Africa’s land, sea and air borders.

  • The first directive deals with cross-border transport including the rules that truck drivers and other freight facilities need to follow;
  •  The second directive deals with the country’s seaports including the disembarkation procedures for crew as well as the resumption of passenger ship travel;
  • The third directive deals with the resumption of air services including confirmation of the rules that passengers will have to follow should they wish to fly to and from South Africa.

While not officially gazetted, earlier this week Home Affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi published a list of countries that are considered high-risk, where travellers will not be allowed into the country:

  • Albania
  • Argentina
  • Armenia
  • Austria
  • Bahrain
  • Belgium
  • Bolivia
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Columbia
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Ecuador
  • France
  • Georgia
  • Greece
  • Guatemala
  • Guyana
  • Honduras
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • India
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Jamaica
  • Jordan
  • Kuwait
  • Lebanon
  • Luxemburg
  • Maldives
  • Malta
  • Mexico
  • Moldova
  • Montenegro
  • Nepal
  • Netherlands
  • North Macedonia
  • Oman
  • Palestine
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Portugal
  • Puerto Rico
  • Qatar
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Slovakia
  • Suriname
  • Switzerland
  • Ukraine
  • United Emirates
  • United Kingdom
  • USA
  • Venezuela


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