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State of disaster set to stretch beyond mid-January, alert level to be determined

Justice and correctional services minister Ronald Lamola. File image.
Justice and correctional services minister Ronald Lamola. File image.

Indications are that the national state of disaster may have to be extended beyond January 15.

According to justice and correctional services minister Ronald Lamola, reports from health minister Zweli Mkhize on the behaviour of Covid-19 show that some form of a lockdown may still be needed to contain the spread.

Lamola said this during a briefing on the new regulations under lockdown level 3, which took effect from midnight.

The current state of national disaster is expected to end on January 15 which is when the current lockdown level 3 is also expected to be reviewed.

“The period of the state of disaster is up until January 15 and if there is any review in terms of the regulations in terms of that, it was that it could be reviewed maybe on January 10 but if there is no review or anything it will have to go up until the 15th,” Lamola said.

“All indications are that with epidemiological reports that are coming from health, we may have to again extend the state of disaster. But in terms of which regulations will be applicable and so forth, it will announced as and when there is a review.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday night announced that the country was moving from lockdown level 1 to level 3 which will see stricter regulations being enforced.

These regulations will include a 9pm to 6am curfew and the non-sale or on-site consumption of alcohol, among other restrictions.

He said this was necessitated by the alarming number of rising Covid-19 infections and deaths as well as the struggling health-care system.

The country breached the million infections mark, with Ramaphosa saying that over 50,000 of the new reported cases were since Christmas Eve.

Lamola also spoke on the potential conviction and fines for those found not wearing masks in public. He said there was no standardised amount for a fine but that chief magistrates across the country were working on it so that there was uniformity.

“They usually give each other guidance so that there should be uniformity through the chief magistrates countrywide in terms of the type of fine,” Lamola said.

“Since we have started with the Disaster Management Act, there was a point where there could be a different type of imposition of fines for almost the same offence. They have now developed guidelines which are guiding themselves.”


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