The Lions have confirmed the departures of a number of players, including Springbok hooker Malcolm Marx, from the union.
The news was confirmed in a press release on Friday morning.
Professional rugby players in the country had until midnight on Thursday - the end of a three-week window - to leave their existing contracts with their unions.
It was a clause was agreed upon by the SA Rugby Industry, MyPlayers and the South African Rugby Employers' Organisation (Sareo) last month as part of SA Rugby's efforts to cut costs in the face of the global coronavirus pandemic.
Marx is expected to be joining Japan's Kubota Spears on a full-time basis having spent the beginning of 2020 at the club on what was referred to as a 'sabbatical' at the time.
The Lions also confirmed that exciting young wing Tyrone Green, flyhalf Shaun Reynolds, loose forward Ruan Vermaak and backline coach Neil de Bruin were on their way out.
"The Lions Rugby Company would like to take the opportunity to thank all of their staff and players for understanding and embracing the difficult and very challenging times that was forced upon them by COVID-19," the franchise said in a statement.
"It truly takes special people to make a place special and the Lions family will always remain true to what they stand for, even in trying times."
CEO Rudolf Straeuli wished the players well.
"There is always a big sense of loss and sadness when we lose family members. We wish them well on their journey ahead and thank them for some very special times spent with the Lions," Straeuli said.
- Compiled by Sport24 staff