Almost immediately after Cyril Ramaphosa finished his address to the nation on Sunday evening, the new and amended Level 1 regulations had been published in the Government Gazette. The rules were signed off by Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma – but entering a more ‘lenient’ version of lockdown doesn’t mean the COGTA Minister will go easy on us…
Dlamini-Zuma gazettes Level 1 regulations
As well as outlining a list of ‘banned activities’, Dlamini-Zuma has also stressed that several acts of defiance can still constitute ‘an arrestable offence’ – more on that in a moment. The COGTA Department issued a statement on Monday morning, confirming that the shift to Level 1 restrictions had now become law:
“Industries, businesses, and entities – both private and in the public sector – must operate within the Alert Level 1 regulations as gazetted. All people attending gatherings should endeavour to limit exposure to COVID-19 by adhering to all protocols and regulations. This is to try and avert a possible resurgence of COVID-19.”
“It is important to note that even as the country moves to Alert level 1 and economic activities increasing, a ‘face mask’ means a cloth face mask or a homemade item that covers the nose and mouth, or another appropriate item to cover the nose and mouth still remain mandatory.”
What can you get arrested for at Level 1?
Indeed, featured towards the bottom of the 20-page document, Dlamini-Zuma issues a warning to the South African public, highlighting the sub-regulations that carry the strictest penalties of all, if flouted. In total, seven ‘arrestable offences’ have been identified – and they carry a maximum term of six months in jail:
- – Breaking curfew (00:00 – 4:00) without a valid reason could get you jailed under Level 1 laws.
- – Any business staying open after 23:00 could see its owner(s) apprehended, Dlamini-Zuma has stated.
- – Failing to wear a mask in public spaces, and while boarding public transport also carries a stiff penalty
- – Business owners who let more than the maximum number of people allowed onto their premises can be imprisoned.
- – Bus and coach drivers could be jailed for allowing more than 70% capacity onto vehicles when travelling long-distance.
- – If you consume liquor in a public place (beaches, parks, or even the streets), the police have grounds to arrest you.
- – ‘Preventing a police officer from exercising their lockdown duties’ is also an arrestable offence, according to Dlamini-Zuma.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma lays down the gauntlet
It’s worth noting that you can be both fined AND jailed for contravening any of the laws mentioned above. The official wording in the Level 1 regulations is as follows:
“Any person who fails to comply with or contravenes a provision of these Regulations commits an offence and is, on conviction, liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months, or to both a fine and imprisonment.”
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in the Government Gazette