South Africa: Coronavirus National Disaster Regulations Formulated

Coronavirus (COVID-19) disease graphic.

The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs will formulate regulations to guide the response to the Coronavirus pandemic, which President Ramaphosa has declared a national disaster.

At a ministerial briefing on Monday in Tshwane, the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, said the regulations will be completed today, and will then be communicated with the ministry's stakeholders. These include the country's 258 municipalities, provincial governments, the South African Local Government Association, traditional leaders and civil society.

"We will have a teleconference with provincial governments as soon as the regulations are ready so that we are all on board, and we will then communicate with the municipalities. We will meet stakeholders at various levels," Dlamini-Zuma said.

The interventions announced by the President on Sunday also threw a curve ball for the upcoming by-elections in various municipalities.

"We are in contact with the IEC [Independent Electoral Commission] because the announcement has huge implications. Some of the by-elections were supposed to take place this week, and some were supposed to take place next month... This may completely change [the way the IEC does things]," said Dlamini-Zuma.

The department is now in touch with the IEC, which the Minister said might request for an extension of the 90-day requirement for by-elections.

She said this will allow the IEC and government to rollout other contingencies, as elections require physical contact at polling stations.

Dlamini-Zuma said municipalities will also be urged to ensure that public gatherings do not attract large crowds.

The gathering restrictions (of not more than 100 people) announced by government also coincide with the ongoing Integrated Development Planning (IDPs) public consultations in the country's municipalities.

"We may have to tweak the way the IDPs are conducted. Some gatherings are big, so they might have to be fragmented," she said.

The department has already cancelled travel.

Cogta will also embark on an educational campaign in wards in municipal districts, as the information might not speedily trickle to these groups.

"They might not be able to follow the trend of finding out who they've been in contact with and to self-quarantine. We need to identify facilities in these areas," she said.

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