National State of Disaster ends after 750 days, but some regulations remain
The Cabinet has decided to lift the National State of Disaster, effective from midnight on Monday, 5 April, but will maintain aspects of the regulations enacted to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Monday evening.
The President said that after 750 days, the requirement for a National State of Disaster to be declared could no longer be met and that the powers granted to the government under disaster legislation “should be maintained only as long as they are absolutely necessary”.
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Ramaphosa said South Africa had entered a new phase of the pandemic, illustrated by the number of fatalities being recorded. During the third wave in July 2021, the highest average daily number of coronavirus-related deaths was 420. That dropped to 240 during the fourth wave in February 2021 and to 12 this week.
“It is a moment to remember those who have lost their lives and the many people who are still struggling with the effects of the disease. It is also a time to pay tribute to the healthcare workers, the police, the soldiers, the volunteers and other frontline workers for their dedication and service during the worst times of the pandemic,” said Ramaphosa.
“The end of the National State of Disaster is a firm statement of our determination to live our lives and rebuild our country even as this virus remains in our midst.”
Ramaphosa declared a National State of Disaster on 15 March 2020, after 61 cases had been recorded across the country, and banned travel from high-risk countries.
Days later he imposed a strict lockdown that closed non-essential shops and businesses and confined people to their homes unless they were seeking medical services, buying food or collecting a grant. Soldiers were deployed and the sale of alcohol and tobacco products was banned.
Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma extended the National State of Disaster on a month-by-month basis after the initial three-month period expired.
Professor Salim Abdool Karim, who chaired the ministerial advisory committee (MAC) on Covid-19, has said the National State of Disaster allowed the country to implement restrictions, such as restricting gatherings and closing schools, in the early days of ...