COVID-19: SHIPPING AND LOGISTICS – REGULATIONS, NOTICES AND UPDATES

Wednesday, March 25, 2020
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This note might not reflect the latest position. If you require more information, please contact our Shipping & Logistics Practice Group or Ports, Transport and Logistics Sector Group. For updates on developments in the aviation sector, see our separate page here.

In response to the novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, sweeping regulatory controls were introduced, almost overnight, by the principal governmental role players in the South African ports and shipping sectors. As the Covid-19 outbreak has evolved, the regulatory controls have changed over time. These include the listed regulations, directions, notices and statements below. However, it should be noted that this is not a comprehensive list and some of the entries may have been repealed or updated by subsequent changes. With that said, the list includes the following:

 

Bowmans insights

24 February 2020

Bowmans’ newsflash detailing the screening measures for Covid-19 put in place at South Africa’s commercial shipping ports. 

3 April 2020

Bowmans invited clients to attend a webinar titled “Moving cargo in times of COVID-19 – practicalities and risks” in which we:

  • Examined the latest transport regulations;
  • Unpacked what constitutes “essential” goods and services;
  • Discussed on-the-ground challenges in sea ports, inland ports and in the airfreight industry;
  • Talked about cross-border road logistics challenges; and
  • Explored cargo risks and mitigation strategies, including whether judicial relief is possible during the lockdown period.

A recording is available here. Please note that the advice provided by the presenters was based on the information available at the time of the webinar. Since then there have been further guiding documents issued by various role players in the industry and the advice given by our presenters may have been overtaken by newly published documents.

22 April 2020

Andrew Pike, Aneria Bouwer and Trudie Nichols represented Bowmans as panelists in a webinar hosted by WESGRO (the Western Cape Trade and Investment Promotion Agency) titled Update on cargo movements during Covid-19 lockdown. They discussed some of the challenges faced by the shipping and logistics industry in moving cargo in South Africa during the Covid-19 crisis, including:

  • cargo import and export regulations, and exemptions;
  • what is technically possible for moving essential and non-essential goods, on the ground challenges; and
  • Covid-19 related VAT, customs and excise measures, including available VAT exemptions and customs rebates.

A recording is available here. Please note that the advice provided by the presenters was based on the information available at the time of the webinar. Since then there may have been further guiding documents issued by various role players in the industry and the advice given by our presenters may have been overtaken by newly published documents.

11 August 2020

Bowmans’ newsflash about navigating the new world of virtual hearings in the shipping and aviation space. A copy is available here.

8 September 2020

Bowmans’ newsflash titled “Covid-19” South Africa – Signs of improvement in Shipping” is available here

11 September 2020

Bowmans’ newsflash titled “Covid-19” South Africa – Update on crew changes” is available here.

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The Disaster Regulations

15 March 2020

A national state of disaster was declared in terms of Section 27(2) of the Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002 (“the Act”) by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs designated under Section 3 of the Act and published under Government Notice 313 in Government Gazette 43096 on 15 March 2020. A copy is available from the South African Government website here.  

18 March 2020

Regulations issued in terms of section 27(2) of the Disaster Management Act No 57 of 2002 were made by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and published under Government Notice 318 in Government Gazette 43107 on 18 March 2020 (“Disaster Regulations of 18 March”). A copy is available from the South African Government website here. The Disaster Regulations of 18 March have since been amended and repealed (see below).

25 March 2020

Amendments to the Disaster Regulations of 18 March were made by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and published under Government Notice 657 in Government Gazette 43148 on 25 March 2020 (“Disaster Regulations of 25 March”). The amendments provide further clarification around the national lockdown announced on 23 March, including the closure of all borders for the period of the lockdown except for the transportation of fuel (including gas and coal). The amendments defined “essential goods” and “essential services”. Essential goods were defined to include food, fuel, medical supplies and other basic goods. Permitted essential services included “cargo shipping and dockyard services” and “transport and logistics in respect of essential goods to neighbouring countries”. A copy is available from the South African Government website here. The amended Disaster Regulations of 18 March have since been further amended and repealed (see below).

26 March 2020

Further amendments to the amended Disaster Regulations of 18 March were made by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and published under Government Notice 657 in Government Gazette 43168 on 26 March 2020 (“Disaster Regulations of 26 March”). A copy is available from the South African Government website here. The amended Disaster Regulations of 18 March have since been further amended and repealed (see below).

2 April 2020

Further amendments to the amended Disaster Regulations of 18 March were made by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and published under Government Notice 658 in Government Gazette 43199 on 2 April 2020 (“Disaster Regulations of 2 April”). A copy is available from the South African Government website here. The Disaster Regulations of 2 April included the following important amendments:

  • Borders at designated ports of entry are open for transporting fuel, cargo and goods; and
  • Movements within South Africa are allowed for transporting cargo from ports of entry to their “intended destination”, provided that necessary precautions have been taken to sanitise and disinfect the cargo. We note that there is no definition for an “intended destination” and transport for non-essential goods is not an essential service, which makes it difficult to interpret the regulation.

The amended Disaster Regulations of 18 March have since been further amended and repealed (see below).

16 April 2020

Further amendments to the amended Disaster Regulations of 18 March were made by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and published under Government Notice 465 in Government Gazette 43232 on 16 April 2020 (“Disaster Regulations of 16 April”). A copy is available from the South African Government website here. The Disaster Regulations of 16 April provide that movement within South Africa was permitted for the transportation of:

  • Essential goods;
  • Cargo from ports of entry to their “intended destination” (We note that here is still no definition of “intended destination” and that the requirement to sanitise and disinfect all inbound cargo has been deleted from these regulations); and
  • Cargo currently at ports of entry, for export of goods to decongest the ports of entry.

They also made provision to ensure the continuous supply of energy and petroleum products as well as for increasing capacity in mining operations. The amended Disaster Regulations of 18 March have since been repealed (see below).

29 April 2020

Regulations issued in terms of section 27(2) of the Disaster Management Act No 57 of 2002 were made by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and published under Government Notice 480 in Government Gazette 43258 on 29 April 2020 (“Disaster Regulations of 29 April”). The amended Disaster Regulations of 18 March were repealed. Directions issued under the amended Disaster Regulations of 18 March continue to apply unless amended or withdrawn. A copy of the Disaster Regulations of 29 April is available from the South African Government website here. They include the following provisions:

  • Borders remain closed except for designated ports of entry and for the transportation of fuel, cargo and goods.
  • Rail, ocean, air and road transport is permitted for the movement of cargo to other countries and within South Africa, but only for transporting defined essential goods, certain imports for permitted manufacturing activities, cargo at ports of entry, certain goods in transit destined for neighbouring countries, defined permitted exports, “transport of goods within” South Africa and as otherwise determined in Ministerial Directions.
  • Work may be performed outside the home in certain industries, including those involved in ocean, rail, road and air transport of goods, but is subject to strict health and safety protocols.
  • The list of essential goods permitted for import includes food, hygiene and cleaning products, medical supplies, fuel (including coal and gas), components for aftersales vehicle services, chemicals to produce other essential goods, textiles for the production of protective equipment such as facemasks and ICT equipment.
  • The list of goods permitted for export includes agricultural, agro-processing, forestry and fishing products as well as certain manufacturing products and mining products permitted for production.
  • Essential services permitted include “air charters” listed with air-traffic navigation, Civil Aviation Authority and others, “transport and logistics in respect of cargo and goods as set out in Part A to neighbouring countries” (although this wording appears to have been taken from the March Disaster Regulations as there is no longer a “Part A” in the April Disaster Regulations) as well as cargo shipping and dockyard services.

The Disaster Regulations of 29 April have since been amended (see below). 

28 May 2020

Amendments to the amended Disaster Regulations of 29 April were made by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and published under Government Notice 608 in Government Gazette 43364 on 28 May 2020 (“Disaster Regulations of 28 May”). A copy is available from the South African Government website here. The Disaster Regulations of 28 May include Alert Level 3 regulations, to apply from 1 June. The following provisions are included in the amendments:

  • Borders remain closed except for designated ports of entry for the transportation of fuel, cargo and goods;
  • Provision is made for humanitarian operations, repatriations, evacuations, medical emergencies, movement of diplomatic staff and other exceptions to be determined in Ministerial directions;
  • “Rail, ocean, air and road transport is permitted for the movement of cargo to and from other countries and within the Republic for the transportation of goods for export and for import”; and
  • “Passenger ships for leisure purpose” and “domestic passenger air travel for leisure purposes, until directions with health protocols and social distancing measures are issued by the relevant Cabinet member responsible for transport” are included in the list of specific economic exclusions for work outside the home as detailed in Table 2

The amended Disaster Regulations of 29 April have since been further amended (see below). 

25 June 2020

Further amendments to the amended Disaster Regulations of 29 April were made by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and published under Government Notice 660 in Government Gazette 43476 on 25 June 2020 (“Disaster Regulations of 29 April as amended on 25 June”). The list of specific economic exclusions for work outside the home as detailed in Table 2, still includes “passenger ships for leisure purposes” and “domestic passenger air travel for leisure purposes, until directions with health protocols and social distancing measures are issued by the relevant Cabinet member responsible for transport”. A copy is available from the South African Government website here. The Disaster Regulations of 29 April have since been further amended (see below). 

31 July 2020

Further amendments to the Disaster Regulations of 29 April were made by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and published under Government Notice 661 in Government Gazette 43577 on 31 July 2020 (“Disaster Regulations of 29 April as amended on 31 July”). A copy is available from the South African Government website here. In terms of the Disaster Regulations of 29 April as amended on 31 July, national borders may only be open for the transportation of fuel, cargo and goods; humanitarian operations, repatriations, evacuations, medical emergencies, movement of staff of diplomatic and international organisations and other exceptions as the Cabinet may determine by directions; or foreign sea crew for exchanging sea crew in South Africa. The Disaster Regulations of 29 April have since been further amended (see below). 

17 August 2020

Further amendments to the amended Disaster Regulations of 29 April were made by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and published under Government Notice 891 in Government Gazette 43620 on 17 August 2020 (“Disaster Regulations of 17 August”). The Disaster Regulations of 17 August 2020 provide for the Level 2 restrictions announced by the president. National borders remain closed with certain exceptions including for the transport of fuel, cargo and goods as well as crew changes, repatriations, evacuations and medical emergencies. Provision is also made for the Minister of Home Affairs to allow entry into or exit from the Republic in certain circumstances and to allow certain additional categories of international travel to resume once it is deemed safe to do so and subject to directions. The list of specific economic exclusions for work outside the home as detailed in Table 3, includes “passenger ships for international leisure purposes” and “international passenger air travel for leisure purposes”. A copy is available from the South African Government website here. The amended Disaster Regulations of 29 April have since been further amended (see below). 

18 September 2020

Further amendments to the amended Disaster Regulations of 29 April were made by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and published under Government Notice 999 in Government Gazette 43725 on 18 September 2020 (“Disaster Regulations of 18 September”) to provide for the Level 1 restrictions to come into operation at 00h01 on 21 September 2020. A copy is available from the South African Government website here. The Disaster Regulations of 18 September allow for the partial re-opening of borders. International travel is permitted but subject to restrictions. These include restrictions around travel from countries with a high COVID-19 infection and transmission rate. International air travel is limited to OR Tambo, King Shaka and Cape Town International Airports. “Passenger ships for international leisure purposes” remain on the list of specific exclusions for work outside the home as detailed in Table 4. Further directions from the ministers of transport, home affairs and health are expected to clarify procedures and requirements. The amended Disaster Regulations of 29 April have since been further amended (see below).  

21 October 2020

Further amendments to the amended Disaster Regulations of 29 April were made by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and published under Government Notice 1104 in Government Gazette 43825 on 21 October 2020 (“Disaster Regulations of 21 October”) providing for those eighteen land borders that were previously partially operational, to now be fully operational. Other land borders remain closed, as detailed in the Disaster Regulations of 21 October. A copy is available from the South African Government website here. The amended Disaster Regulations of 29 April have since been further amended (see below). 

11 November 2020

Further amendments to the amended Disaster Regulations of 29 April were made by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and published under Government Notice 1199 in Government Gazette 43897 on 11 November 2020 (“Disaster Regulations of 11 November”) to allow all international travel to and from South Africa to resume, subject to the protocols and testing requirements detailed in amended regulations. International air travel is restricted to OR Tambo, King Shaka and Cape Town International Airports. Further directions are expected from the Department of Home Affairs with regard to the resumption of services for visa applications and containment protocols for ports of entry. In addition, the regulations provide for that “all commercial seaports will be opened” and “small crafts will be allowed entry into seaports” but subject to applicable protocols. However, “passenger ships” (excluding small craft subject to applicable protocols) “for international leisure purposes” remain on the list of specific exclusions for work outside the home as detailed in Table 4. A copy of the Disaster Regulations of 11 November is available from the South African Government website here. The amended Disaster Regulations of 29 April have since been further amended (see below). 

3 December 2020

Further amendments to the amended Disaster Regulations of 29 April 2020 were made by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and published under Government Notice 1290 in Government Gazette 43964 on 3 December 2020 (“Disaster Regulations of 3 December 2020”) to provide, among other things, for additional restrictions to apply in designated “hotspot” areas under Alert Level 1. Nelson Mandela Bay, around the ports of Port Elizabeth and Ngqura, was determined to be a hotspot. A copy of the Disaster Regulations of 3 December 2020 is available from the South African Government website here. The Department of Cooperative Governance has also issued an explanatory note available from the South African Government website here.  The amended Disaster Regulations of 29 April 2020 have since been further amended (see below). 

15 December 2020

Further amendments to the amended Disaster Regulations of 29 April 2020 were made by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and published under Government Notice 1346 in Government Gazette 43997 on 15 December 2020 (“Disaster Regulations of 15 December 2020”) detailing the restrictions and protocols in place under Alert Level 1 and in hotspot areas. A copy of the Disaster Regulations of 15 December 2020 is available from the South African Government website here. In addition, this notice determines the Garden Route and Sarah Baartman districts to be hotspots. The amended Disaster Regulations of 29 April 2020 have since been further amended (see below). 

24 December 2020

Further amendments to the amended Disaster Regulations of 29 April 2020 were made by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and published under Government Notice 1421 in Government Gazette 44042 on 24 December 2020 (“Disaster Regulations of 24 December 2020”) providing, inter alia, for the 18 land borders that were partially operational to be fully operational and for the Kosibay Port of Entry permitting access between South Africa southern Mozambique to reopen on 1 January 2021. The other 33 land borders which were closed will remain closed. A copy of the Disaster Regulations of 24 December 2020 is available from the South African Government website here. The amended Disaster Regulations of 29 April 2020 have since been further amended (see below).

29 December 2020

Further amendments to the amended Disaster Regulations of 29 April 2020 were made by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and published under Government Notice 1423 in Government Gazette 44044 on 29 December 2020 (“Disaster Regulations of 29 December 2020”) providing for adjusted Alert Level 3 restrictions and protocols, including:

  • “All international travel is permitted” subject to the testing and quarantine protocols detailed in the regulations.
  • “All commercial seaports … remain open” and small craft may enter seaports subject to applicable protocols.
  • However, “passenger ships for international leisure purposes” (excluding small craft subject to applicable protocols) remains on the list of specific exclusions detailed in Table 2.
  • Transporting liquor is prohibited except for export and storage purposes as detailed in the regulations.

A copy of the Disaster Regulations of 29 December 2020 is available from the South African Government website here. In addition, this notice details the geographic areas determined to be hotspots. The amended Disaster Regulations of 29 April 2020 have since been further amended (see below).

11 January 2021

Further amendments to the amended Disaster Regulations of 29 April 2020 were made by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and published in Government Gazette 44066 on 11 January 2021 (“Disaster Regulations of 11 January 2021”) providing for adjusted Alert Level 3 restrictions and protocols, including:

  • The closure of “all land ports of entry” until 15 February 2021, with exceptions for transporting “fuel, cargo and goods”. “Rail, ocean. air and road transport … for the movement of cargo to and from other countries and within the Republic” is also permitted, subject to applicable legislation, regulations, directions and protocols. The transport of liquor is prohibited except under the circumstances detailed in the regulations.
  • “International air travel” is permitted subject to the testing and quarantine protocols detailed in the regulations and is restricted to OR Tambo, King Shaka and Cape Town International Airports.
  • “All commercial seaports … remain open” and small craft may enter seaports subject to applicable protocols.
  • “Businesses may operate except for those set out in Table 2”. The list in Table 2 includes “passenger ships for international leisure purposes”.

A copy of the Disaster Regulations of 11 January 2021 is available from the South African Government website here. The amended Disaster Regulations of 29 April 2020 have since been further amended (see below).

1 February 2021

Further amendments to the amended Disaster Regulations of 29 April 2020 were made by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and published in Government Gazette 44130 on 1 February 2021 (“Disaster Regulations of 1 February 2021”) with amendments to the provisions around international air travel and the transport of liquor. A copy of the Disaster Regulations of 1 February 2021 is available from the South African Government website here. The amended Disaster Regulations of 29 April 2020 have since been further amended (see below).

13 February 2021

Further amendments to the amended Disaster Regulations of 29 April 2020 were made by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and published in Government Gazettes 44158 and 44159 on 13 February 2021 (“Disaster Regulations of 13 February 2021”) providing for, among other things, the partial re-opening of borders. Copies of the Disaster Regulations of 13 February 2021 are available from the South African Government website here and here. The amended Disaster Regulations of 29 April 2020 have since been further amended (see below).

28 February 2021

Further amendments to the amended Disaster Regulations of 29 April 2020 were made by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and published in Government Gazette 44201 on 28 February 2021 (“Disaster Regulations of 28 February 2021”) providing for adjusted Alert Level 1 restrictions and protocols that include:

  • “All commercial seaports … remain open” and small craft may enter seaports subject to applicable protocols.
  • International air travel is restricted to OR Tambo, King Shaka, Cape Town, Lanseria and Kruger Mpumalanga International Airports.
  • Detail when flights are permitted during curfew and the testing requirements for international travellers.
  • “Rail, ocean, air and road transport” is permitted to move cargo to/from South Africa and within South Africa, subject to applicable legislation.
  • The transport of liquor is permitted.
  • “Businesses may operate except for those set out in Table 4”. The list in Table 4 includes “passenger ships for international leisure purposes”.

A copy of the Disaster Regulations of 28 February 2021 is available from the South African Government website here.

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The National Ports Act Regulations

18 March 2020

The National Ports Act (COVID-19 Restrictions on the movement of persons and crew) Regulations 2020 were made by the Minister of Transport and published under Government Notice 173 in Government Gazette 43103 on 18 March 2020 (“National Ports Act Regulations of 18 March”. A copy is available from the South African Government website here. These regulations have since been repealed (see below).

26 March 2020

The National Ports Act Regulations of 18 March were repealed. A copy of the repeal notification is available from the Government Printing Works website here.

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The Sea Ports Directions

26 March 2020

Directions to address, prevent and combat the spread of Covid-19 in the Sea Ports were issued by the Minister of Transport and published under Government Notice 216 in Government Gazette 43163 on 26 March 2020 (“Sea Port Directions of 26 March”). A copy is available from the South African Government website here. The Sea Port Directions of 26 March have since been amended and repealed (see below).

7 April 2020

Amendments to the Sea Port Directions of 26 March were issued by the Minister of Transport and published under Government Notice 453 in Government Gazette 43211 on 7 April 2020. A copy is available from the South African Government website here. The amended Sea Port Directions of 26 March have since been repealed on 4 May (see below).

4 May 2020

Directions to address, prevent and combat the spread of Covid-19 in the Sea Ports were issued by the Minister of Transport and published under Government Notice 496 in Government Gazette 43275 on 4 May 2020 (“Sea Port Directions of 4 May”). They include the following provisions:

  • Eight of South Africa’s commercial sea ports are open for cargo vessels to work cargo, undertake repairs, refuel and replenish provisions;
  • No crew changes are permitted in all commercial ports until further notice;
  • Passenger vessels may only call at South African sea ports to refuel and replenish stores and provisions;
  • Passenger vessels may not disembark passengers or crew except South African crew and returning South African citizens or those who hold permanent residence permits;
  • There is a further provision that “cruise ships” may not call at any South African sea ports except to disembark “returning South African crew and permanent residents”;
  • Repatriation of South African seafarers, returning to South Africa by sea or other modes of transport, is permitted subject to certain conditions which include a quarantine period of up to 21 days.;
  • Evacuations of seafarers, passengers and mariners are provided for subject to certain conditions which also include a quarantine period of up to 21 days.;
  • Particular access, hygiene and sterilization control measures apply at South African sea ports; and
  • It also covers the transport of import and export cargo.

The Sea Port Directions of 4 May repeal and replace the amended Sea Port Directions of 26 March and the National Ports Act Regulations of 18 March. A copy is available from the South African Government website here. The Sea Port Directions of 4 May have since been amended (see below).

20 August 2020

Amendments to the Sea Port Directions of 4 May were issued by the Minister of Transport and published under Government Notice 895 in Government Gazette 43629 on 20 August 2020 (“Sea Port Directions of 20 August”) to allow for foreign crew changes at Cape Town and Durban, subject to the procedures and requirements as set out in the directions. Cruise and passenger ships are still prohibited from calling except to disembark returning South African crew, citizens and permanent residents. A copy  is available from the South African Government website here. The Sea Port Directions of 4 May have since been further amended (see below).

1 October 2020

Further amendments to the amended Sea Port Directions of 4 May were issued by the Minister of Transport and published under Government Notice 1022 in Government Gazette 43753 on 1 October 2020 (“Sea Port Directions of 1 October”). A copy  is available from the South African Government website here. The Sea Port Directions of 4 May have since been further amended (see below).

The Sea Port Directions of 1 October provide that:

  • Foreign crew changes are now permitted at all nine South African commercial sea ports, subject to the testing and quarantine requirements set out in the directions.
  • “Cruise ships” may call at South African sea ports only to disembark returning South African crew, citizens or permanent residents. “Passenger ships” may call at South African sea ports only to disembark returning South African citizens and permanent residents; to replenish fuel, stores and provisions; for medical evacuations; and search and rescue. “Passenger ships for international leisure purposes” may not disembark international passengers at South African sea ports. The directions distinguish between “cruise ships” and “passenger ships”, but do not define either term and do not explain why the distinction is necessary. We speculate that the distinction may be between coastal cruise ships and more robust blue water passenger liners, but otherwise have been unable thus far to understand why the distinction is made.
  • Foreign research vessels and safety tugs may dock at sea ports, subject to quarantine restrictions.
  • “All other cargo vessels must be allowed to dock at sea ports for purposes of cargo works, repairs, replenishing fuel and provisions.”
  • Designated isolation centres will be established at all commercial ports, to facilitate screening, testing and treatment of embarking/disembarking South African crew, marine personnel, citizens and permanent residents.

3 December 2020

Further amendments to the amended Sea Port Directions of 4 May were issued by the Minister of Transport and published under Government Notice 1280 in Government Gazette 43957 on 3 December 2020 (“Sea Port Directions of 3 December 2020”) to make provision around foreign crew layovers and shore leave, as well as providing for small craft to call at designated ports provided they meet the requirements set out in the directions. A copy of the Sea Port directions of 3 December 2020 is available from the South African Government website here. The amended Sea Port Directions of 4 May 2020 have since been withdrawn (see below).

10 February 2021

Directions on measures to address, prevent and combat the spread of Covid-19 at Sea Ports for Adjusted Alert Level 3 were issued by the Minister of Transport and published under Government Notice 60 in Government Gazette 44121 on 29 January 2021 and a correction published under Government Notice 79 in Government Gazette 44140 on 10 February 2021 (“Sea Port Directions of 10 February 2021”). A copy is available from the South African Government website here. The amended Sea Port Directions of 4 May 2020 are withdrawn. In summary, theralral Sea Port Directions of 10 February 2021:

  • Confirm that all nine commercial sea ports remain open.
  • Permit foreign crew changes, subject to the testing and quarantine requirements set out in the directions.
  • Allow “passenger ships for international leisure purposes” to call for limited purposes only, including to replenish fuel, stores and provisions, but may not disembark international passengers.
  • Permit small craft to call at Cape Town, Durban and Richards Bay, subject to the protocols and procedures set out in the directions.
  • Provide for medical evacuations of seafarers, passengers and mariners off the South African coast.
  • Confirm that the loading and off-loading of cargo in and out of, and the transporting of cargo to and from, sea ports is permitted.
  • Provide for screening, hygiene and sterilisation control measures as well as Covid-19 reporting, tracking, tracing and monitoring systems at sea ports.

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The Agricultural Cargo Directions

7 April 2020

Directions relating to sea cargo operations and air freight operations were issued by the Minister of Transport and published under Government Notice 453 in Government Gazette 43211 on 7 April 2020 (“Agricultural Cargo Directions of 7 April”). These directions provide for the export of wine, fresh produce products and agricultural cargo from sea ports and designated international airports. The Agricultural Cargo Directions makes provision for the transporting of cargo to the port of exit. A copy is available from the South African Government website here.

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The Air Travel Regulations

18 March 2020

Ministerial Regulations regarding International Air Services (Covid-19 Restrictions on the Movement of Air Travel) Regulations were published under Government Notice 175 in Government Gazette 43105 on 18 March 2020 (“Air Travel Regulations of 18 March”). A copy is available from the South African Government website here. The Air Travel Regulations of 18 March were repealed on 26 March (see below).

26 March 2020

The Air Travel Regulations of 18 March were repealed by the Minister of Transport in a notice published under Government Notice 218 in Government Gazette 43166 on 26 March 2020. A copy is available from the South African Government website here.

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The Air Services Directions

26 March 2020

Directions to address, prevent and combat the spread of COVID-19 in the Air Services were issued by the Minister of Transport and published under Government Notice 415 in Government Gazette 43160 on 26 March 2020 (“Air Services Directions of 26 March”). A copy of the directions is available from the South African Government website here. The effect of the Air Services Directions of 26 March is as follows:

  • All international and domestic passenger flights are prohibited irrespective of the risk category of the country of origin. This applies to all air service operators, foreign nationals and crew, irrespective of the risk category of the country of origin, as well as South African citizens and permanent residents.
  • The loading and off-loading of air cargo in and out of the international airports designated as Ports of Entry (airports with adequate Port Health capability) is permitted. However, air cargo from medium to high risk countries must be sanitised immediately after being off-loaded from the aircraft.
  • The international airports designated as Ports of Entry are (a) OR Tambo; (b) King Shaka; (c) Upington; (d) Polokwane; (e) Bram Fischer; (f) Kruger Mpumalanga; (g) Pilanesberg; and (h) Port Elizabeth.
  • Airports designated as Ports of Entry must be ready to handle air cargo and must provide adequate facilities for washing of hands and disinfection equipment.
  • Air service operators responsible for transporting cargo must provide procedures and facilities for disinfection.
  • The directions are valid for the duration of the declared national state of disaster.

The Air Services Directions of 26 March have since been amended (see below).

27 March 2020

Amendments to the Air Services Directions of 26 March were issued by the Minister of Transport and published under Government Notice 423 in Government Gazette 43176 on 27 March 2020 (“Air Services Directions of 27 March”). The amendments include Cape Town International Airport in the list of international airports designated as Ports of Entry. A copy is available from the South African Government website here. The Air Services Directions of 26 March have since been further amended (see below).

31 March

Further amendments to the amended Air Services Directions of 26 March were issued by the Minister of Transport and published under Government Notice 438 in Government Gazette 43189 on 31 March 2020 (“Air Services Directions of 31 March”). A copy is available from the South African Government website here. The Air Services Directions of 31 March:

  • Permit international and domestic passenger flights that have been especially authorized by the Minister of Transport for the evacuation of South African Nationals from foreign countries.
  • Permit the repatriation of foreign nationals from South Africa back to their respective countries provided that the relevant country of nationality charters an aircraft to South Africa without any passengers for purpose of the repatriation and that the flight crew of the chartered flight does not disembark in South Africa.
  • Permit the evacuation of South African citizens from foreign countries. On arrival the South African citizen will be subjected to mandatory quarantine for a period of up to 21 days.  The relevant flight crew shall be allowed to disembark subject to the applicable quarantine laws. 
  • Also permit “technical flights” into South Africa for the purposes of (i) medical evacuation; (ii) aircraft in a state of emergency; (iii) overflights; (iv) technical landings for refueling; (iv) aircraft operations related to humanitarian aid, relief flights and other safety related operations.
  • Provides that the international airports that have standby operational staff to receive aircraft in distress are (i) Port Elizabeth; (ii) Bram Fischer; (iii) Upington; (iv) Polokwane; (v) Kruger Mpumalanga.
  • Disembarkation of the flight crew for air cargo operations ins permitted on condition that they will be subject to the quarantine laws applicable in South Africa.

The amended Air Services Directions of 26 March have since been further amended (see below).

30 May

Further amendments to the amended Air Services Directions of 26 March were issued by the Minister of Transport and published under Government Notice 615 in Government Gazette 43375 on 30 May 2020 (“Air Services Directions of 30 May”). A copy is available from the South African Government website here. The Air Services Directions of 30 May provide:

  • Commercial domestic passenger flights between four specified airports from 1 June 2020, other than for recreational, leisure or tourism purposes (for which purpose the passenger is to have written proof) are permitted;
  • The airport terminal building is limited to employees, consular and diplomatic agents, crew and passengers (without an elevated temperature of sign of infection);
  • Drop off and pick up is only permitted outside the terminal building;
  • Screening and other control measures, including face masks, are implemented at airports;
  • Airlines and airports must develop and implement Covid-19 related procedures;
  • Certain general aviation operations (including agricultural spraying, culling, construction, aerial patrol, search and rescue, aerial photography and fire control) are permitted;
  • Certain (virtual and in contact) training by aviation training organisations are permitted;
  • Various aircraft related organisations (including maintenance, airports, operators, security and training) are required to submit for approval Covid-19 procedures to minimize the risk of exposure and spreading; and
  • The South African Civil Aviation Authority (“SACAA”) monitors implementation of the directions.

The amended Air Services Directions of 26 March have since been further amended (see below).

2 July

Further amendments to the amended Air Services Directions of 26 March were issued by the Minister of Transport and published under Government Notice 726 in Government Gazette 43493 on 2 July 2020 (“Air Services Directions of 2 July”). A copy is available from the South African Government website here. The Air Services Directions of 2 July provide:

  • Including in the directions those international and domestic flights, and general aviation activities commented on by the Minister on 29 June 2020;
  • Permitting domestic passenger air travel for purposes of carrying out work responsibilities, moving to a new place of residence, caring for an immediate family member, commuting by learners to schools or institutions of higher learning, attending a funeral, transportation of mortal remains, obtaining medical treatment and returning home from quarantine or an isolation facility, and by members of parliament; and
  • SACAA authorized recreational aviation proficiency flights are permitted.

The amended Air Services Directions of 26 March have since been further amended (see below).

24 July

Further amendments to the amended Air Services Directions of 26 March were issued by the Minister of Transport and published under Government Notice 814 in Government Gazette 43550 on 24 July 2020 (“Air Services Directions of 24 July”). A copy of the amended directions is available from the South African Government website here. The Air Services Directions of 24 July provide that:

  • All international passenger flights are prohibited, except those flights authorized by the Minister of Transport.
  • Domestic passenger air travel is permitted subject to certain conditions.
  • All aerial work is permitted for certain purposes as listed in the directions, including: agricultural spraying, seeding and dusting; cloud spraying, seeding and dusting; construction; aerial harvesting; aerial advertisement, banner towing and other towing of objects; search and rescue; and aerial recoding by photographic or electronic means.
  • General aviation is permitted for certain purposes including the transportation of aviation technicians, mechanics and engineers internationally for essential support and assistance to aircraft/recreational aviation is permitted to conduct proficiency flights, provided that the flights are authorized by the South African Civil Aviation Authority and remain within the general flying areas, airfield or airport boundaries.

The amended Air Services Directions of 26 March have since been further amended (see below).

25 August

Further amendments to the amended Air Services Directions of 26 March were issued by the Minister of Transport and published under Government Notice 924 in Government Gazette 43651 on 25 August 2020 (“Air Services Directions of 25 August”). A copy is available from the South African Government website here. According to the Air Services Directions of 25 August, all international passenger flights remain prohibited except for those authorised by the Minister of Transport. Domestic passenger flights are permitted at the following airports: Bram Fischer International Airport; Cape Town International Airport; East London Airport; George Airport; Hoedspruit Airport; Kimberly Airport; King Shaka International Airport; Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport; Lanseria International Airport; Margate Airport; Mthatha Airport; OR Tambo International Airport; Phalaborwa Airport; Pietermaritzburg Airport; Port Elizabeth International Airport; Richards Bay Airport; Skukuza Airport; and Upington International Airport. The amended Air Services Directions of 26 March have since been further amended (see below).

9 September

Further amendments to the amended Air Services Directions of 26 March were issued by the Minister of Transport and published under Government Notice 969 in Government Gazette 43695 on 9 September 2020 (“Air Services Directions of 9 September”). A copy is available from the South African Government website here. The Air Services Directions of 9 September now provide that:

  • "All international flights are prohibited, except those conducted for (i) the transportation of fuel, cargo and goods; (ii) humanitarian operations; (iii) the evacuation of a South African national or permanent resident to the Republic; (iv) the repatriation of a foreign national to their country of nationality or permanent residence; (v) medical emergencies in respect of a life -threatening condition; (vi) the movement of staff of diplomatic and international organisations; (vii) the return of a South African national or permanent resident to their place of employment, study or residence, outside the Republic; or (viii) other categories, as authorised by the Minister of Transport, but excluding international passenger air travel for leisure purposes."
  • Aerial work, general aviation and recreational aviation are all permitted. The previous restrictions on the purposes for which aerial work, general aviation and recreational aviation were permitted, have been removed from the directions.
  • The list of international airports designated as Ports of Entry that have port health capability and are permitted to handle air cargo now includes: Bram Fischer International Airport; Cape Town International Airport; King Shaka International Airport; Kruger Mpumaianga International Airport; Lanseria International Airport; OR Tambo International Airport; Pilanesberg Airport; Polokwane Airport; Port Elizabeth international Airport; and Upington International Airport.

The amended Air Services Directions of 26 March have since been further amended (see below).

16 September

Further amendments to the amended Air Services Directions of 26 March were issued by the Minister of Transport and published under Government Notice 997 in Government Gazette 43717 on 16 September 2020 (“Air Services Directions of 16 September”) providing an updated list of the domestic passenger airports at which domestic passenger flights are permitted. A copy is available from the South African Government website here. The amended Air Services Directions of 26 March have since been further amended (see below).

1 October 2020

Further amendments to the amended Air Services Directions of 26 March were issued by the Minister of Transport and published under Government Notice 1032 in Government Gazette 43752 on October 2020 (“Air Services Directions of 1 October 2020”). A copy is available from the South African Government website here. The amended Air Services Directions of 26 March have since been further amended (see below). The Air Services Directions of 1 October 2020 detail the conditions under which inbound and outbound international flights as well as domestic flights within the Republic, will be permitted. These include:

  • A prohibition on international travel from designated “high-risk” countries except for business travel under certain circumstances.
  • Testing requirements and risk mitigation measures for passengers and crew on both inbound and outbound international passenger flights.
  • Obligations on operators to ensure compliance with testing requirements.
  • Particular arrangements for passengers in transit are detailed in the directions.
  • On-board catering is allowed, provided operators take all necessary risk mitigation, health and safety measures.
  • Foreign operators must submit procedures demonstrating their level of compliance with local Covid-19 legislation, for approval by the South African Civil Aviation Authority.
  • Foreign Air Ambulance Services may transport Covid-19 positive patients, provided they obtain the necessary approvals and permits and adhere to the applicable protocols and guidelines.

The Air Services Directions of 1 October 2020 also include an updated list of domestic airports at which domestic passenger flights are permitted. International scheduled and charter passenger flights are only permitted at OR Tambo, King Shaka and Cape Town International Airports. Cargo operations and the loading/off-loading of air cargo are allowed at the International Airports listed in the directions.

3 December 2020

Further amendments to the amended Air Services Directions of 26 March 2020 were issued by the Minister of Transport and published under Government Notice 1032 in Government Gazette 43752 on 3 December 2020 (“Air Services Directions of 3 December 2020”). A copy is available from the South African Government website here. The amended Air Services Directions of 26 March 2020 have since been withdrawn (see below). The Air Services Directions of 3 December 2020 include provision for the following:

  • Inbound and outbound international flights and domestic flights are permitted in terms of the amended Disaster Regulations.
  • Inbound and outbound international passenger fights are permitted subject to the conditions detailed in the Air Services Directions of 3 December 2020, which include testing requirements and risk mitigation measures.
  • There is no longer a prohibition on international travel from designated “high-risk” countries, as it appeared in the Air Services Directions of 1 October 2020.
  • Both the provision limiting the categories of persons permitted to enter the terminal building and the provision requiring drop off and pick up to take place outside the terminal building only, have been deleted.
  • “International scheduled operations and charter flights carrying passengers are allowed at” OR Tambo, King Shaka and Cape Town International Airports.
  • “Charter operators conducting cargo and passenger operations to and from the Republic are permitted to operate at the … airports with Port Health capacity” listed in the directions.
  • The list of domestic airports at which domestic passenger flights are permitted, has been updated to include Pilanesburg Airport.

29 January 2021

Directions on measures to address, prevent and combat the spread of Covid-19 in the Air Services for Adjusted Alert Level 3 were issued by the Minister of Transport and published under Government Notice 63 in Government Gazette 44124 on 29 January 2021 (“Air Services Directions of 29 January 2021”). A copy is available from the South African Government website here. The Air Services Directions of 29 January 2021 have since been amended (see below). The amended Air Services Directions of 26 March 2020 are withdrawn. The Air Services Directions of 29 January 2021:

  • Permit international flights to and from South Africa and domestic flights within South Africa.
  • Detail the testing requirements and risk mitigation measures applicable to international outbound and inbound passenger flights.
  • Provide that “international scheduled operations and charter flights carrying passengers are allowed at” OR Tambo, King Shaka and Cape Town International Airports.
  • Provide that “charter operators conducting cargo and passenger operations to and from the Republic are permitted to operate at the … airports with Port Health capacity” listed in the directions.
  • List the domestic airports at which domestic passenger flights are permitted.
  • Require adjustment of flight times in line with curfew times.
  • List the international airports ready to handle air cargo.
  • Permit general and recreational aviation as well as aerial work, subject to applicable regulations and directions.
  • Provide for improved hygiene control and disinfection facilities at airports and terminals.
  • Detailed the responsibilities for compliance, implementation and monitoring of the directions by the SA Civil Aviation Authority, Airports Company South Africa and Air Traffic and Navigation Services.

1 March 2021

Amendments to the Air Services Directions of 29 January 2021 were issued by the Minister of Transport and published under Government Notice 158 in Government Gazette 44208 on 1 March 2021 (“Air Services Directions of 1 March 2021”). A copy is available from the South African Government website here. The Air Services Directions of 1 March 2021 do not mention Lanseria and Kruger Mpumalanga International Airports as airports at which international scheduled operations and charter flights carrying passengers are allowed. The Air Services Directions of 1 March 2021 detail the protocols and procedures to be followed for flights during curfew and around catering on board aircraft.

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The Air Freight Operations Directions

4 May 2020

Directions to address, prevent and combat the spread of COVID-19 in the Air Freight Operations were issued by the Minister of Transport and published under Government Notice 492 in Government Gazette 43271 of 4 May 2020 (“Air Freight Operations Directions of 4 May”). A copy is available from the South African Government website here. The Air Freight Operations Directions of 4 May provide for:

  • Charter flights under the Disaster Regulations;
  • Disinfection measures;
  • Aircraft maintenance and testing;
  • Aviation training using virtual platforms; and
  • Exemptions and approvals.

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The Railway Directions

4 May 2020

Directions to address, prevent and combat the spread of Covid-19 in the Railway Operations were issued by the Minister of Transport and published under Government Notice 494 in Government Gazette 43273 on 4 May 2020 (“Railway Directions of 4 May”). A copy is available from the South African Government website here

14 May 2020

Amendments to the Railway Directions of 4 May were issued by the Minister of Transport and published under Government Notice 536 in Government Gazette 43322 on 14 May 2020 (“Railway Directions of 14 May”). A copy is available from the South African Government website here

30 May 2020

Further amendments to the amended Railway Directions of 4 May were issued by the Minister of Transport and published under Government Notice 613 in Government Gazette 43373 on 30 May 2020 (“Railway Directions of 30 May”). A copy is available from the South African Government website here

2 September 2020

Further amendments to the amended Railway Directions of 4 May were issued by the Minister of Transport and published under Government Notice 950 in Government Gazette 43675 on 2 September 2020 (“Railway Directions of 2 September”) to provide that all long-distance rail services, both public and private operations, are permitted. A copy is available from the South African Government website here.  The amended Railway Directions of 4 May 2020 have since been withdrawn (see below).

29 January 2021

Directions on measures to address, prevent and combat the spread of Covid-19 in Railway Operations for Adjusted Alert Level 3 were issued by the Minister of Transport and published under Government Notice 62 in Government Gazette 44123 on 29 January 2021 (“Railway Directions of 29 January 2021”). A copy is available from the South African Government website here. The amended Railway Directions of 4 May 2020 are withdrawn.

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The Cross-Border Road Transport Directions

26 March 2020

Directions to address, prevent and combat the spread of Covid-19in the Cross-Border Road Transport were issued by the Minister of Transport and published under Government Notice 413 in Government Gazette 43158 on 26 March 2020 (“Cross Border Directions of 26 March”) provide that cross-border freight movement may continue to and from neighbouring countries. A copy is available from the South African Government website here. The Cross Border Directions of 26 March 2020 have since been withdrawn (see below).

1 October 2020

Directions to address, prevent and combat the spread of Covid-19 in Cross-Border Road Transport for Alert Level 1 were issued by the Minister of Transport and published under Government Notice 1034 in Government Gazette 43754 on 1 October 2020 (“Cross Border Directions of 1 October”). A copy is available from the South African Government website here. The Cross Border Directions of 1 October provide that cross-border “road transport passenger services are permitted to operate from 1 October 2020” and that cross-border “freight transport and logistics in respect of specified cargo and permitted retail goods to neighbouring countries, which include goods imported through the South African Ports of Entry for re-export to neighbouring countries, is permitted”. The Cross Border Directions of 1 October also detail the hygiene and disinfection control measures that must be put in place. The Cross Border Directions of 1 October 2020 have since been withdrawn (see below).

29 January 2021

Directions on measures to address, prevent and combat the spread of Covid-19 in Cross-Border Road Transport Services for Adjusted Alert Level 3 were issued by the Minister of Transport and published under Government Notice 61 in Government Gazette 44122 on 29 January 2021 (“Cross-Border Directions of 29 January 2021”). A copy is available from the South African Government website here. The Cross-Border Directions of 26 March 2020 and 1 October 2020 are withdrawn. The Cross-Border Directions of 29 January 2021 permit “cross-border freight transport and logistics in respect of specified cargo and retail goods to neighbouring countries”. 

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The Health Directions

17 July 2020

Directions were issued by the Minister of Health and published under Government Notice 796 in Government Gazette 43533 on 17 July 2020 (“Health Directions of 17 July”). The directions set out the procedures for screening and quarantining persons entering/exiting the Republic; aircraft crew for international travel; persons disembarking/embarking cargo and passenger vessels; fishing vessels operating within and outside of territorial waters; maritime safety precautions and medical evacuations; local air travel; and cross border trucking operations. A copy is available from the South African Government website here. The Health Directions of 17 July have since been amended (see below).

7 August 2020

Amendments to the Health Directions of 17 July were issued by the Minister of Health and published under Government Notice 662 in Government Gazette 43600 on 7 August 2020 (“Health Directions of 7 August”). All persons entering the Republic though any point of entry must be subjected to screening and may be placed under mandatory quarantine for a minimum period of ten and not fourteen days as was permitted previously. A person disembarking from a cargo and passenger vessel must be subjected to screening and mandatory quarantine for a minimum period of ten days (this would also apply to a crew member embarking a cargo or passenger vessel); Fishers embarking or disembarking from international registered fishing vessels must be subjected to screening and mandatory quarantine for a minimum period of ten days. A copy is available from the South African Government website here.  The Health Directions of 17 July have since been amended further (see below).

3 December 2020

Further amendments to the amended Health Directions of 17 July were issued by the Minister of Health and published under Government Notice 1278 in Government Gazette 43954 on 3 December 2020 (“Health Directions of 3 December 2020”) to update the requirements and procedures for screening, testing, quarantine or isolation, as may be appropriate, for persons entering and exiting the Republic. These include:

  • The requirement that a “traveller health questionnaire” be completed when entering or exiting the Republic.
  • The requirement that persons entering the Republic provide “a valid negative COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction test result, not older than 72 hours from the date of departure from the country of origin”.
  • Further amendments to the quarantine, self-quarantine and self-isolation provisions in the directions.
  • Particular provisions around testing and quarantine arrangements for airline crew and for cross border freight operators.
  • “Ship crew who intend disembarking in the Republic, must produce a valid negative COVID-19 test result not older than 72 hours from the date of signing onto the vessel.” Failing to do so means that the crew member “will be subject to testing for COVID-19 on arrival and may be subject to quarantine at an approved facility at the employer’s cost”.
  • The provision covering fishers that appeared in the Health Directions of 7 August 2020, has been deleted.

 A copy is available from the South African Government website here.  The amended Health Directions of 17 July 2020 have since been amended further (see below).

15 December 2020

Further amendments to the amended Health Directions of 17 July 2020 were issued by the Minister of Health and published under Government Notice 1360 in Government Gazette 44004 on 15 December 2020 (“Health Directions of 15 December 2020”) to further update the requirements and procedures for screening, testing, quarantine and/or isolation, as may be appropriate, for persons entering the Republic. A copy is available from the South African Government website here

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The Home Affairs Directions

26 March 2020

Directions regarding temporary measures in respect of entry into or exit out of the Republic in order to prevent and combat the spread of the Covid-19 were issued by the Minister of Home Affairs and published under Government Notice 416 in Government Gazette 43162 on 26 March 2020 (“Home Affairs Directions of 26 March 2020”) regarding temporary measures in respect of entry into or exit out of the Republic. A copy is available from the South African Government website here. The Home Affairs Directions of 26 March 2020 have since been amended (see below).

9 May 2020

Amendments to the Home Affairs Directions of 26 March 2020 were issued by the Minister of Home Affairs and published under Government Notice 518 in Government Gazette 43301 on 9 May 2020 (“Home Affairs Directions of 9 May 2020”) regarding temporary measures in respect of entry into or exit from of the Republic for emergency medical attention for life threatening condition, for the return of South African citizens and the repatriation of foreign nationals to their countries of nationality or residence. A copy is available from the South African Government website here. The Home Affairs Directions of 26 March 2020 have since been further amended (see below).

10 June 2020

Further amendments to the amended Home Affairs Directions of 26 March 2020 were issued by the Minister of Home Affairs and published under Government Notice 664 in Government Gazette 43420 on 10 June 2020 (“Home Affairs Directions of 10 June 2020”) regarding entry into or exit from South Africa for emergency medical attention, evacuation, repatriation, extension of asylum seeker permits, and refugee status. A copy is available from the South African Government website here. The amended Home Affairs Directions of 26 March 2020 have since been further amended (see below).

3 July 2020

Further amendments to the amended Home Affairs Directions of 26 March 2020 were issued by the Minister of Home Affairs and published under Government Notice 749 in Government Gazette 43504 on 3 July 2020 (“Home Affairs Directions of 3 July 2020”) regarding services offered under Alert Level 3 and applications for entry into South Africa. A copy is available from the South African Government website here. The amended Home Affairs Directions of 26 March 2020 have since been further amended (see below).

31 July 2020

Further amendments to the amended Home Affairs Directions of 26 March 2020 were issued by the Minister of Home Affairs and published under Government Notice 843 in Government Gazette 43572 on 31 July 2020 (“Home Affairs Directions of 31 July 2020”) regarding validity of visas and permits. A copy is available from the South African Government website here. The amended Home Affairs Directions of 26 March 2020 have since been further amended (see below).

25 August 2020

Further amendments to the amended Home Affairs Directions of 26 March 2020 were issued by the Minister of Home Affairs and published under Government Notice 923 in Government Gazette 43650 on 25 August 2020 (“Home Affairs Directions of 25 August 2020”) regarding services offered under Alert Level 2. A copy is available from the South African Government website here. The amended Home Affairs Directions of 26 March 2020 have since been further amended (see below).

30 September 2020

Further amendments to the amended Home Affairs Directions of 26 March 2020 were issued by the Minister of Home Affairs and published under Government Notice 1029 in Government Gazette 43749 on 30 September 2020 (“Home Affairs Directions of 30 September 2020”). A copy is available from the South African Government website here. The directions deal with visas and permits, including the process for business travellers from designated high-risk countries (determined as having a high COVID-19 infection and transmission rate), and detail the services rendered by the Department of Home Affairs under lockdown level 1. The directions list the land ports of entry that remain closed. The directions also provide that the list of high-risk countries will be published, from time to time, on the website of the Department of Home Affairs here. The amended Home Affairs Directions of 26 March 2020 have since been amended further (see below).

3 December 2020

Further amendments to the amended Home Affairs Directions of 26 March 2020 were issued by the Minister of Home Affairs and published under Government Notice 1277 in Government Gazette 43953 on 3 December 2020 (“Home Affairs Directions of 3 December 2020”) confirming that persons who are “allowed entry into the Republic will be subject to the prescribed screening procedures and isolation or quarantine rules, as the case may be”. A copy is available from the South African Government website here. The amended Home Affairs Directions of 26 March 2020 have since been amended further (see below).

13 January 2021

Further amendments to the amended Home Affairs Directions of 26 March 2020 were issued by the Minister of Home Affairs and published under Government Notice 16 in Government Gazette 44072 on 13 January 2021 (“Home Affairs Directions of 13 January 2021”) dealing with extensions to visas and permits, travel across closed land ports of entry and the services rendered by the Department of Home Affairs under the adjusted Alert Level 3. A copy is available from the South African Government website here.

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The Export Control Regulations

27 March 2020

Covid-19 amendments to the Export Control Regulations published under Government Notice 92 in Government Gazette 35007 on 10 February 2012, as amended on 30 October 2015 and on 31 December 2015 (“Export Control Regulations of 10 February 2012”) were issued by the Minister responsible for Trade, Industry and Competition and published under Government Notice 424 in Government Gazette 43177 on 27 March 2020 (“Export Control Regulations of 27 March 2020”), to require export permits for the export of certain essential goods. A copy of the Export Control Regulations of 27 March 2020 is available from the South African Government website here. The Export Control Regulations of 10 February 2012 have since been amended further (see below). 

11 June 2020

Further amendments to the Export Control Regulations of 10 February 2012 were issued by the Minister responsible for Trade, Industry and Competition and published under Government Notice 667 in Government Gazette 43432 on 11 June 2020 (“Export Control Regulations of 11 June 2020”) to amend the list of Covid-19 related goods as detailed in the regulations, for which export permits are required and to allow for the export of these goods without an export permit in certain instances. A copy of the amendments are available from the South African Government website here. The Export Control Regulations of 10 February 2012 have since been amended further (see below). 

26 November 2020

Further amendments to the Export Control Regulations of 10 February 2012 were issued by the Minister responsible for Trade, Industry and Competition and published under Government Notice 1268 in Government Gazette 43939 on 26 November 2020 (“Export Control Regulations of 26 November 2020”) to amend the circumstances under which export permits are not required for the export of certain Covid-19 related goods as detailed in the regulations, including to SADU or SADC member countries. A copy of the Export Control Regulations of 26 November 2020 is available from the South African Government Printing Works website here.

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The Customs and Excise Act

9 April 2020

The rules published under the Customs and Excise Act were amended to provide that foreign-going ships are exempt from paying duty on stores consumed on board in port during a national state of disaster, subject to any prescribed conditions. A copy of the amendment to the rules is available from the South African Government website here.

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Statements and announcements

23 March 2020

National Lockdown announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa. A copy of his speech is available from the South African Government website here.

25 March 2020

In a statement by Minister Fikile Mbalula unpacking implications for transport during the Coronavirus COVID-19 lockdown, he said that essential goods will be allowed at commercial sea ports and that cross-border freight movement for essential goods will continue to and from our neighbouring countries. A copy of the statement is available from the South African Government website here.

25 March 2020

In a statement by Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Mr Gwede Mantashe (MP), he stated that mining operations will be scaled down significantly but that, for exports, each case will be evaluated on its merits. A copy of the statement is available from the South African Government website here.

27 March 2020

Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula gave a media statement on implementation of transport directions during Coronavirus COVID-19 lockdown, stating that “We have taken note of concerns raised by industry of limiting the movement of cargo only to essential cargo. We have therefore resolved this matter and all cargo will be allowed passage”. A copy of the statement is available from the South African Government website here.

28 March 2020

Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula provided an update on implementation of transport regulations and directions during the Coronavirus COVID-19 lockdown. A copy of his statement is available from the South African Government website here.

30 March 2020

Minister Fikile Mbalula provided day 3 update on the implementation of transport regulations and directions during the Coronavirus COVID-19 lockdown, including reference to arrangements for processing passenger ships and returning SA crew members during lockdown. A copy of his statement is available from the South African Government website here.

3 April 2020

In a statement by Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Mr Gwede Mantashe (MP), he said that the mines supplying Eskom will continue operating while production of gold, chrome, manganese, iron ore and other sectors will operate at scaled down levels. Furthermore, several mining right-holders have been applying to the Department for permission to continue operating, although at significantly reduced levels. A copy of the statement is available from the South African Government website here.

9 April 2020

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced an extension of the national lockdown to the end of April. A copy of his speech is available from the South African Government website here.

16 April 2020

In remarks by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma on the amended regulations, she made the following statements:

  • Essential goods may be transported “from warehousing sites to essential service providers”;
  • “Cargo may be moved from ports of entry to warehousing sites where handling and clearing of cargo is conducted, with the exception of the transportation of liquor”;
  • “Cargo may be transported to ports of entry for purposes of exporting. We specifically make provision for export of cargo to decongest the ports.”However, it is not immediately clear how this statement is to be reconciled with the wording of the amended March Disaster Regulations which refer to the transport of “cargo currently at ports of entry, for export of goods to decongest the ports of entry”.

A copy of the Minister’s remarks is available from the South African Government website here.

16 April 2020

In a statement by Minister Fikile Mbalula reviewing transport measures during COVID-19 Coronavirus lockdown, he stated that the provisions in the Agricultural Cargo Directions regarding the transport of wine would be reviewed and that “[i]n a nutshell, we are no longer allowing movement of wines”. A copy of the statement is available from the South African Government website here.

16 April 2020

Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Mr Gwede Mantashe (MP) remarked on the amended regulations, providing further insight into how production will be increased in the mining sector. A copy of the Minister’s remarks is available from the SA Government website here. Parliament has also appealed to mining companies to adhere to the March Disaster Regulations. A copy of Parliament’s media statement is available from the South African Government website here.

23 April 2020

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that, beyond Thursday 30 April 2020, there will begin gradual and phased recovery of economic activity based upon five risk levels. The current lockdown period is determined as risk level 5 and the intention is to reduce risk over time, eventually moving to risk level 1. The immediate first phase of relaxation of lockdown measures will be risk level 4, to commence at the end of the current lockdown period on 1 May. Each risk level will permit more relaxation of the lockdown rules but will be predicated on the implementation of certain risk mitigation measures before it can commence. Accordingly, other than the commencement of risk level 4, there is no fixed timeline for commencement of the remaining risk levels. A copy of the President’s speech is available from the South African Government website here.

25 April 2020

The Government requested public comment on a draft framework for the Risk-Adjusted Strategy to bring different sectors of the economy under Level Four of the Lockdown back to work. A copy is available from the South African Government website here

1 May 2020

In a statement by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula on the Alert Level 4 transport directions the Minister stated that:

  • “The ban on passenger vessels and cruise liners remains in place, and only vessels bringing in cargo are allowed to call on our ports”;
  • “[W]e will allow the movement of cargo from our sea-ports to either warehouses or final destinations as provided for in the current rules”;
  • Freight rail is permitted; and
  • “Only essential cargo will be allowed to move across our land borders … [The] SADC Protocol on COVID-19 … details the goods that should to be allowed by member states to move across land borders.”

A copy of his statement is available from the South African Government website here.

1 May 2020

The Department of Transport published a series of slides summarising the Risk Adjusted Strategy Level 4: Road, Rail, Maritime & Aviation Guidelines & Information. A copy is available from the SA Government Covid-19 Online Resource and News Portal here.

24 May 2020

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the country would move from risk level 4 to risk level 3 from 1 June 2020. Most sectors of the economy will reopen under risk level 3, subject to health and safety requirements. Particular COVID-19 “hotspots” have been identified and these will be subject to heightened health and safety measures which we anticipate will be published in directives which follow the new regulations. National borders will remain closed except for the transport of goods and repatriation of nationals. A copy of the President’s speech is available from the South African Government website here.

30 May 2020

In a statement by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula regarding risk level 3 lockdown measures, the Minister confirmed the following:

  • “The ban on passenger vessels and cruise liners remains in place”;
  • Moving cargo from sea-ports to final destination will be allowed;
  • Full cargo operations will be permitted at Mossel Bay and Saldanha Bay; and
  • South African seafarers will be permitted to embark and disembark, subject to a mandatory quarantine period for those returning.

A copy of the Minister’s speech is available from the South African Government website here.

15 August 2020

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the country would move to Level 2 with effect from midnight on Monday 17 August 2020. A copy of his statement is available from the South African Government website here.

30 September 2020

The Minister of International Relations issued a statement on the re-opening of borders and ports of entry for international travellers during Coronavirus Covid-19 epidemic lockdown level 1 on 30 September 2020. A copy is available from the South African Government website here. The statement details the process that visitors will be expected to follow when coming to South Africa, including the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test to be produced before departure and the screening process on arrival. Different permissions and processes may apply to travellers from designated high, low and medium risk countries, as well as to travellers from other African countries and for travel by air. For example, the statement mentions that only certain categories of travellers from designated high-risk countries (determined as having a high COVID-19 infection and transmission rate) may be permitted entry to South Africa, that leisure travellers from high-risk countries will not be permitted and that international visitors travelling by air may be required to possess mandatory travel insurance to cover testing and quarantine costs. We expect regulations or directions will be issued to cover these details in due course. The statement deals specifically with sea port operations as follows:

  • Ships are permitted to “dock, load and off-load cargo”.
  • Crew changes from cargo ships are permitted, subject to screening requirements.
  • “Passenger liners for luxury travel” may not “dock and off-load passengers”.

30 September 2020

The Minister of Home Affairs issued a statement on the re-opening of borders and ports of entry for international travellers during Coronavirus Covid-19 epidemic lockdown level 1 on 30 September 2020. A copy is available from the South African Government website here. The statement lists the countries currently designated as “high-risk”, which will be reviewed fortnightly. The statement also deals with visa and permit applications, including the process for visa applications by business travellers from designated high-risk countries. See also the Home Affairs Directions of 30 September.

15 October 2020

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that “an expanded list of countries from where resumption of international travel will be permitted” will be published soon. A copy of his speech is available from the South African Government website here.

11 November 2020

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that South Africa would be “opening up international travel to all countries subject to the necessary health protocols and the presentation of a negative COVID-19 certificate”. A copy of his speech is available from the South African Government website here.

28 December 2020

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that South Africa would move to an adjusted Level 3 with immediate effect until 15 January 2021. A copy of his speech is available from the South African Government website here.

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SARS Customs & Excise Notices

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has issued a number of practice notices relating to Covid-19 transport of cargo, which are available from their website here.

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Transnet Notices

Transnet has issued several action plans, notices, memos and letters to stakeholders regarding their operations and policies during lockdown. Further information is available on request.

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SAMSA Marine Notices

  • SAMSA Marine Notice No 13 of 2020 dated 16 March 2020 titled “Coronavirus: Vessels and Seafarers” deals with statutory surveys, seafarers and fishers, crew changes and ships agents. A copy is available from SAMSA’s website here.
  • SAMSA Marine Notice No 14 of 2020 dated 16 March 2020 titled “Coronavirus: Information and Emergency Contact Details” contains emergency contact information, medivac information, details of SAMSA’s task team and other helpful links. It has been cancelled by Marine Notice No 26 of 2020. A copy of the cancelled marine notice is available from SAMSA’s website here.
  • SAMSA Marine Notice No 15 of 2020 dated 17 March 2020 titled “COVID-19: Update No1: Government Announcement With Regard To Port Calls From Vessels: To Be Implemented 18 March 2020” provides details of the Department of Health notice regarding the control of health measures in the shipping industry. It has been cancelled by Marine Notice No 26 of 2020. A copy of the cancelled marine notice is available from SAMSA’s website here.
  • SAMSA Marine Notice No 16 of 2020 dated 19 March 2020 titled “Implementation of March 2020 National Ports Act (COVID-19 Restrictions on the movement of persons and crew) Regulations 2020” deals with transitional arrangements for passenger ships already en route to, or berthed in, a South African port prior to publication of the above regulations. A copy is available from SAMSA’s website here.
  • SAMSA Marine Notice No 18 of 2020 dated 28 March 2020 titled “South Africa: 21-Day Lockdown” informs maritime stakeholders of extracts from the March Disaster Regulations and directions (see above). This Marine Notice has since been cancelled by Marine Notice No 26 of 2020. A copy of the cancelled marine notice is available from SAMSA’s website here.
  • SAMSA Marine Notice No 19 of 2020 dated 31 March 2020 titled “COVID-19 Process for extension of Seafarer Certification” deals with certification arrangements. A copy is available from SAMSA’s website here.
  • On 28 March 2020 SAMSA published a note on their blog titled “Maritime sector Covid-19 restrictions under constant review as South Africa settles with 21 day lockdown”. A copy is available from their website here.
  • SAMSA Marine Notice No 20 of 2020 dated 31 March 2020 titled “COVID-19 Lockdown Process for extension of Statutory Certificates” deals with certification arrangements. A copy is available from SAMSA’s website here.
  • SAMSA Marine Notice No 21 of 2020 dated 31 March 2020 titled “COVID-19 Lockdown – South African Ports Open for Cargo Operations” seeks to clarify requirements around port operations and the movement of cargo through South African Ports during the lockdown period. It included the following statement: “Government has now decided that in the interest of ensuring a functional supply chain across all ports, that [sic] all cargoes will be accepted for loading and off-loading. Where possible, essential goods should receive preferential treatment over non-essential goods.” It has since been cancelled by Marine Notice No 26 of 2020. A copy of the cancelled marine notice is available from SAMSA’s website here.
  • SAMSA Marine Notice No 22 of 2020 dated 8 April 2020 titled “Covid-19 Lockdown: Small Vessel and Essential Fishing Vessel Operations” has since been cancelled by Marine Notice No 26 of 2020. A copy of the cancelled marine notice is available from SAMSA’s website here.
  • SAMSA Marine Notice No 23 of 2020 dated 21 April 2020 titled “Process for extension of Certificates” advises seafarers, employers and crewing agencies of the process for extending the validity of seafaring certificates issued by SAMSA and institutions accredited by SAMSA. A copy is available from SAMSA’s website here.
  • SAMSA Marine Notice No 24 of 2020 dated 21 April 2020 titled “Medical Evacuations from Vessels (MEDEVAC)” informs stakeholders of the procedure to be followed when considering medical evacuations of crew members off vessels off the South African coast. A copy is available from SAMSA’s website here.
  • SAMSA Marine Notice No 25 of 2020 dated 23 April 2020 titled “The Merchant Shipping (Maritime Security) Regulations, 2004. Revised PAN requirements” details the additional information required by SAMSA in the Pre-Arrival Notification (PAN) reporting format. A copy is available from SAMSA’s website here.
  • SAMSA Marine Notice No 26 of 2020 dated 12 May 2020 titled “Coronavirus Information and Emergency Contact Details” informs vessels, masters, crew, passengers, ship agents, stevedores, surveyors, ship managers, ship owners and all other stakeholders of steps that should be taken to manage any suspected outbreak of Covid-19 on board a vessel. It cancels Marine Notices 14, 15, 18, 21 and 22 of 2020. A copy is available from SAMSA’s website here.
  • SAMSA Marine Notice No 27 of 2020 dated 21 May 2020 titled “SAMSA’s risk-based response to the COVID-19 Pandemic on Small Vessels and Essential Fishing Vessel Permitted Operations” details the type of operations permitted under the various Covid-19 risk levels and will be updated from time to time. A copy is available from SAMSA’s website here.
  • SAMSA Marine Notice No 28 of 2020 dated 21 May 2020 titled “COVID-19 – Vessel Preparedness for Shore-Based Personnel Interaction” provides guidelines related to safe ship and shore personnel interaction and protective measures to be implemented, for vessels, masters, crew, ship agents, stevedores, surveyors, ship managers, ship owners and other stakeholders. A copy is available from SAMSA’s website here.
  • SAMSA Marine Notice No 29 of 2020 dated 1 June 2020 titled “SAMSA Services Available at National Risk Level 3” details the services provided by SAMSA during risk level 3. It has since been cancelled by Marine Notice No 41 of 2020.
  • SAMSA Marine Notice No 30 of 2020 dated 1 June 2020 titled “COVID-19 Level 3 Crew Changes” summarises arrangements necessary for crew changes involving South African and foreign seafarers during risk level 3 at South African ports. This Marine Notice No 30 has since been cancelled and replaced by Marine Notice No 32 (see below).
  • SAMSA Marine Notice No 31 of 2020 dated 3 June 2020 titled “SAMSA’s risk-based response to the COVID-19 pandemic on Small Vessels and Essential Fishing Vessels” provides guidance to vessel operators as to the type of operations permitted under the various risk levels. A copy is available from SAMSA’s website here.
  • SAMSA Marine Notice No 32 of 2020 dated 5 June 2020 titled “Level 3 Crew Changes” summarises arrangements necessary for crew changes involving South African and foreign seafarers during risk level 3 at South African ports. It has since been cancelled by Marine Notice No 40 of 2020.
  • SAMSA Marine Notice No 40 of 2020 dated 21 August 2020 titled “Level 2 Seafarer Crew Changes” provides guidance around the procedure for crew changes at South African ports. It has since been cancelled by Marine Notice No 43 of 2020.
  • SAMSA Marine Notice No 41 of 2020 dated 2 September 2020 titled “SAMSA Services Available at National Risk Level 2” provides guidance on services provided by SAMSA during the SARS-COV2 pandemic at risk level 2. It cancels Marine Notice No 29 of 2020. A copy is available from SAMSA’s website here.
  • SAMSA Marine Notice No 43 of 2020 dated 9 September 2020 titled “Level 2 Seafarer Crew Changes” provides guidance around the procedure for crew changes at South African ports. It replaces Marine Notice No 40 of 2020. It has since been cancelled by Marine Notice No 47 of 2020.
  • SAMSA Marine Notice No 47 of 2020 dated 1 October 2020 titled “Level 1 Crew Changes” provides guidance around the procedure for crew changes at South African ports. It should be read in conjunction with Marine Notices No 24 and 26 of 2020 and it cancels Marine Notice No 43 of 2020. A copy is available from SAMSA’s website here.
  • SAMSA Marine Notice No 50 of 2020 dated 4 November 2020 titled “COVID-19: Humanitarian Relief Project to Support Stranded Yachts to enter South Africa during Lockdown Period”. A copy is available from SAMSA’s website here.