All banks will now have to provide hand sanitisers at all their ATMs, according to the newly gazetted Covid-19 coronavirus regulations announced by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi.
Dlamini-Zuma said it had come to government’s attention that at some bank ATMs there was no sanitisation taking place, with those using them being placed in danger of contracting Covid-19.
“As a result, every bank must ensure that there are sanitisers. This is important because ATMs could become superspreaders,” said Dlamini-Zuma, as one infected person using such a facility could pass the virus on to many other users.
The new regulations were announced by the national coronavirus command council (NCCC) through Dlamini-Zuma and Motsoaledi, following Monday’s address by President Cyril Ramaphosa on developments in relation to the country’s response to the pandemic.
During his address, Ramaphosa extended lockdown level 3 in South Africa – with some changes to restrictions.
Dlamini-Zuma said the new restrictions were not meant to merely deprive citizens of their rights, but were a necessary “tight line between saving lives and livelihoods”.
Motsoaledi, on the other hand, announced restrictions to the country’s 20 land border posts which, according to Ramaphosa’s announcement, will be closed until Friday, January 15.
The home affairs minister said there would be restricted access to all these border posts, with only cargo, diplomats, South African citizens returning to the country and individuals seeking emergency medical assistance being allowed through.
He added that access would also be granted for the deportation of illegal immigrants and foreign learners who attend school in various areas in South Africa, as well as foreign nationals who would want to go back to their countries of origin.
According to Motsoaledi, individuals with exceptional reasons beyond those announced by him need to apply to the minister of home affairs, indicating these reasons in order to be granted special exemption to cross at one of the border posts.
Motsoaledi also announced that home affairs offices would be suspending some of its services temporarily, especially applications for smart IDs – except for matriculants – and the processing of passports and marriage certificates.
Yet another change to the previous regulations announced in mid-December, Dlamini-Zuma said, would be the change in curfew time, which will still start at 9pm but will end at 5am instead of 6am, as was previously the case.
She said this change in curfew was after government noted that “some people have to start going to work earlier than 6am”.
She added that those who needed to leave for work even earlier than 5am or leave work later than 9pm would need a permit from their employer stating as much.
According to the new restrictions, Dlamini-Zuma said all social, political, traditional council and faith-based gatherings were still prohibited, with only restaurants, gyms and some sports activities allowed until 8pm without spectators.
She said only 50 people would be allowed at funerals, and they would be expected to sit 1.5 metres apart, wear masks and sanitise their hands. Dlamini-Zuma reiterated that “after-tears parties”, which have become the norm following burials, were still not allowed.
She added that restaurants would only be allowed to have 50 people sitting 1.5m apart for indoor venues, or 100 people for outdoor restaurants.
The minister also indicated that traditional initiations were still prohibited across the country.
“There were people who were already at initiation schools and those should complete the process, while no new initiates should be allowed.”
She also cautioned against celebrations or ceremonies being conducted when such initiates returned home.
Liquor is still prohibited both for onsite and offsite consumption, and the transportation of liquor is still prohibited.
These regulations are expected to be revisited on or before February 15.