By: Warrick de Wet (Attorney)
On 25 March 2020, additional Disaster Management Regulations in terms of the Disaster Management Act 2002, dealing with the national lockdown from midnight on 26 March to midnight on 16 April 2020, were issued.
In terms of the lockdown Regulations every person shall remain at his place of residence for the period of the lockdown unless strictly required for the purpose of performing an essential service or providing essential goods.
Annexure B to the Regulations lists categories of essential goods and services which are to continue to be supplied and performed during the lockdown period.
The head of an institution (i.e. business) may determine essential services to be performed in his institution and must determine the essential staff who will perform those functions. The “head of institution” is defined as the chief executive officer or the equivalent thereof;
The personnel required to perform essential services during the lockdown must be appointed in writing by the head of the institution. The Regulations require a permit for these purposes and a draft permit features in Annexure C to the Regulations (clause 11B (3)). The draft permit is not properly drafted so we have made some improvements to it. The Regulations allow for that. A separate permit must be issued to each personnel member.
All personnel who will be performing essential services during the lockdown must at all relevant times have in their possession the signed permit and their identity document;
Where a personnel member rendering essential services during the lockdown cannot provide his own transport to and from work, the employer must make the necessary transport arrangements. In this case, whatever the licensed occupant capacity of the vehicle being used is, only 50% of that capacity may be taken up and hygienic conditions and limitation of exposure to persons with COVID-19 must be adhered to.;
Following on from the above, all bus services, taxi services, e-hailing services and private motor vehicles for purposes of rendering essential services only may continue. In this case, whatever the licensed occupant capacity of the vehicle being used is, only 50% of that capacity may be taken up and hygienic conditions and limitation of exposure to persons with COVID-19 must be adhered to.
Further, on 25 March 2020 the Minister of Trade and Industry has issued certain directions which businesses seeking to carry out essential services during the lock down period to first obtain an approval certificate from the Department of Trade and Industry before they certify their staff for work during the lockdown.
In order to obtain an approval certificate, an application must be submitted through the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission bizportal.
The procedure to submit such application as follows:
1. an authorised business representative is required to click on this link www.bizportal.gov.za which will direct him to an online portal;
2. upon entering the portal, click on the “Services“ icon situated at the top right hand corner of the webpage and then click on the “COVID Essential Service Business” icon;
3. you will then be required to insert the relevant information pertaining to the business such as the name and registration number, type of business, category of essential services rendered by the business, number of employees working during the lock down period as well as the contact details of the authorised representative;
4. when inserting a company’s registration number insert the upper case letter K followed by the number. Do not put in any of the forward slashes in the number. Do not put in the last 2 digits of the number, which will be 07 in the case of a private company. If your company predates 2010, when inserting a company’s registration number insert the upper case letter B.
The web portal is in operation but access to it has been found to be intermittent.
The time frame within which the approval certificate will be emailed to an applicant is presently unknown. Time will tell whether and how this system works.
Please see below links to the latest lockdown Regulations and the DTI directives.
Should you require any assistance with this process as it unfolds, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Warrick de Wet
WARRICK DE WET ATTORNEYS
Due to the President’s announcement on Monday night that our country is on lockdown for 21 days from midnight on Thursday, 26 March 2020, we have implemented the necessary measures in order to work remotely. Our email addresses will remain the same. Please see: Warrick / Riona / Catherine / Amber: firstname.lastname@example.org | Conor: email@example.com | Accounts Department (Jane Banks):firstname.lastname@example.org. Our office landline number (031 201 8820) will remain operative. Please see our staff’s cellphone numbers so that you can reach any of us directly:
Warrick de Wet: 083 444 0920