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Spreading fake news about Covid-19 could land you in jail for six months or result in a fine…

This is according to the recently gazetted regulations aimed at containing the spread of Covid-19.

The minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta), Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, has gazetted the regulations after the government declared a national stated of disaster amid the Covid-19 virus outbreak.

According to the regulations, people could be imprisoned six months or fined for spreading fake news about the Covid-19.

The regulations outline rules that need to be adhered to by the general public.

The regulations pertaining to the coronavirus deal, among other things, with the release of resources and the prevention and prohibition of gatherings.

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They also deal with the release of resources such as human resources, stores, equipment, ships, aircraft platforms, vehicles and facilities when available.

“[This is to ensure] the delivery of essential services, as may be required, to prevent, limit, contain, combat and manage the spread of the virus,” the regulations state.

Gatherings of more than 100 people are prohibited and prevented in order to contain the spread of Covid-19, the regulations state.

According to the regulations, people suspected of having contracted the virus, or who have been in contact with a person who has tested positive for Covid-19, may not refuse consent for a medical examination, prophylaxis, treatment, isolation and quarantine.

The minister of public works and infrastructure is expected to identify and make available sites to be used as isolation and quarantine facilities as the need arises.

The regulations reiterate that schools and partial care facilities have to be closed by 18 March until 15 April, after which the period may be extended for the duration of the national state of disaster.

Visits to correctional centres suspended

The regulations also include the suspension of all visits by members of the public to correctional centres, remand detention facilities, holding cells, military detention facilities, and department of social development facilities, including child and youth care centres, shelters, one-stop centres, and treatment centres.

These visits are suspended for a period of 30 days from the date of publication of the regulations, which period may be extended up to the duration of the national state of disaster.

The regulations set a limit on the sale, dispensing or transportation of alcoholic beverages.

“All registered or licensed on-consumption liquor premises which can accommodate, including taverns, restaurants and clubs, must be closed with immediate effect, or must be limited to accommodate no more than 50 persons: Provided that adequate space is available and that all directions in respect of hygienic conditions and limitation of exposure of persons with the Covid-19 virus are adhered to,” the regulations state.

Regarding emergency procurement procedures, the minister says these should be subject to the Public Finance Management Act and the Municipal Finance Management Act.

Meanwhile, President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday morning met with religious leaders to reinforce the national response to the coronavirus outbreak.

(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu)

 

 

DISASTER MANAGEMENT ACT, 2002: REGULATIONS ISSUED IN TERMS OF THE DISASTER MANAGEMENT ACT, 2002

The Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) has, in terms of section 3 of the Disaster Management Act, 2002 (Act No. 57 of 2002), and after consulting the responsible Cabinet members, made the and gazetted regulations to deal with the spread of Regulations in the Schedule.

The regulations are in response to the outbreak of COVID-19 virus.

Government must, for the duration of the declared national state of disaster, within its available resources play an important role in the fight against the virus.

The regulations are compiled and released in terms of section 27(a & b).

  1. a) Existing legislation and contingency arrangements do not adequately provide for the national executive to deal effectively with the disaster, b) Other special circumstances warrant the declaration of a national state of disaster.

Section 27(2) indicates that if the national state of disaster has been declared, Minister may in consultations with the responsible cabinet member, make regulations or issue directions or authorise the issue of directions concerning the response to dealing with the virus, which includes, but not limited to the following:

  1. Release of available resources of the national government
  2. Evacuations to temporary shelters
  3. Emergency procurement procedures

The regulations pertaining the COVID-19 virus deals with the following:

  1. Release of resources: – Release any available resources, including human resources, stores, equipment, ships, aircraft platforms, vehicles and facilities, and ensure the delivery of essential services, as may be required, to prevent, limit, contain, combat and manage the spread of the virus.
  2. Prevention and prohibition of gatherings: – In order to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus, a gathering of more than 100 persons is prohibited. An enforcement officer must, where a gathering of more than 100 persons takes place.
  3. Refusal of medical examination, prophylaxis, treatment, isolation and quarantine: – No person who has been clinically or by a laboratory confirmed as having the COVID-19 virus, or who is suspected of having contracted the COVID-19 virus, or who has been in contact with a person who is a carrier of the COVID-19 virus, may refuse consent.
  4. Places of quarantine and isolation: – The Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure must identify and make available sites to be used as isolation and quarantine facilities as the need arises.
  5. Closure of schools and partial care facilities: – Schools and partial care facilities must be closed by 18 March 2020 until 15 April 2020, which period may be extended for the duration of the national state of disaster by the cabinet member concerned.
  6. Suspensions of visits: All visits by members of the public to- Correctional Centres, – Remand Detention Facilities, – Holding Cells; – Military Detention Facilities; and – Department of Social Development facilities, including Child and Youth Care Centres, shelters, One Stop Centres, and Treatment Centres are suspended for a period of 30 days from the date of publication of this Notice, which period may be extended up to the duration of the national state of disaster by the cabinet member concerned.
  7. Limitation on the sale, dispensing or transportation of alcoholic beverages: – All registered or licensed on-consumption liquor premises which can accommodate, including taverns, restaurants and clubs, must be closed with immediate effect, or must be limited to accommodate no more than 50 persons: Provided that adequate space is available and that all directions in respect of hygienic conditions and limitation of exposure of persons with the COVID-19 virus are adhered to.
  8. Emergency Procurement Procedures: Emergency procurement for institutions is subject to: – the Public Finance Management Act, 1999 (Act No. 1 of 1999), and the applicable emergency provisions in the regulations or instructions made under section 76 of that Act, and – the Municipal Finance Management Act, 2003 (Act No. 56 of 2003), and the applicable emergency provisions in the regulations made under that Act, must be applied.
  9. Authority to issue directions: – The Minister of Health may issue directions to address, prevent and combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus in any area of the Republic of South Africa.

1) Offences and penalties: – A person is guilty of an offence if that person fails to comply with these Regulations. A person convicted of an offence mentioned in sub-regulation (1) is liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment not exceeding six months or to both a fine and such imprisonment

The Regulations will also be available on the COGTA and government websites.

Enquiries: Lungi Matshali – 082 088 5060

Issued by Government Communications (GCIS) on behalf of the Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs 19 March 2020

 

 


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