On 4 April 2022, the President of South Africa announced the end of the National State of Disaster, which served as a necessary and crucial response to a global health crisis which posed a grave threat to the people of South Africa. The decision was based on numerous factors, most importantly, the confirmation of the low Covid-19 admission rate in public health facilities and the significantly low Covid-19 death toll.
The conditions under the Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002 (“Disaster Management Act”) no longer require that the country remains in a National State of Disaster. As such, all Regulations and Directives made in terms of the Disaster Management Act have been repealed, for example, Regulations on isolation of persons, initiation practices, schools, public transport, criminalization of non-adherence to the Regulations, and so on.
However, this does not mean that all the measures that have been in place will fall away. The Covid-19 pandemic will be managed in terms of the National Health Act 61 of 2003 (“National Health Act”). New draft Regulations have been published for public comment and once the period for public comment closes on 16 April 2022, the comments will be considered and the new Regulations will be finalised and promulgated.
As provided for in the Disaster Management Act, certain transitional provisions of its Regulations will remain in place while the new Regulations under the National Health Act are finalised. The transitional provisions will remain in place for a period of 30 days to ensure that essential public health precautions and others necessary services are not interrupted while the new Regulations come into effect.
The transitional provisions require people to still wear a face mask in indoor and public spaces, as well as to maintain the existing restrictions on gatherings. In addition to this, the existing provisions with regards to international travel, the R350 Social Relief of Distress (“SRD”) grants, and the extension on the validity of learner, drivers, or professional drivers permit card, and registration of a motor vehicle, will remain in place.
The Covid-19 Vaccine Injury No-Fault Compensation Scheme, which provides some compensation to any person who suffers serious injury as a result of being vaccinated, will continue until further notice.
Subject to the new Regulations on its way, the end of the National State of Disaster appears to be a great move towards reviving social and economic activity in the country, and hopes to return some normality to the lives of South Africans.
A copy of the Government gazette notice can be obtained on the following link: