- Cogta Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said there was logic behind keeping a curfew at Level 1.
- People drinking at all hours caused "chaos" and weakened preventative measures for Covid-19, she said.
- South Africa was not yet "out of the woods" and that is why some limits remained.
Government officials decided to keep a curfew during Level 1 to stop the "chaos" of especially young people being out at all hours drinking, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said on Friday.
Briefing media on Covid-19 Level 1 regulations, Dlamini-Zuma said people tended to relax when imbibing.
"If people have been sitting in a tavern or even in a restaurant, you don't want people to sit there for hours and hours," she said.
"People, when they start drinking, get drunk. They forget the mask, they forget social distancing. It becomes chaos. So you don't want that chaos to continue right into the morning."
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Wednesday that the country would enter Level 1 from midnight on Sunday, bringing with it a shorter curfew, relaxed alcohol sale regulations, and an increase in the number of people who could gather.
The curfew would be from midnight to 04:00, as opposed to 22:00 until 04:00.
Only in exceptional circumstances was movement allowed during the curfew, such as on-duty essential workers with approved permits or those attending to security or medical emergencies.
Dlamini-Zuma said that, with over 2 000 new cases of Covid-19 recorded the previous day, it would be helpful for the average citizen to know what time he had to be home.
She said younger people tended to stay out longer, and they returned to the elderly at home, who might then be infected.
"If we understand that we are not out of the woods, understand that the pandemic, the storm is still on, then it will be easier to understand that we can't just open the whole night to drink and sit together for hours and hours. That is why there are still limits.
"The logic is that the pandemic is still very much with us. We have to go cautiously forward and open up cautiously."