The last images we saw of President Cyril Ramaphosa, four hours before the commencement of the 21-day lockdown, showed a composed man, clad in his military regalia, consumed in his position as the country’s commander-in-chief.
Ramaphosa orders police, army to commence with lockdown
With their orders officiated by the president, the South African Police Service (SAPS), marching alongside the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), deployed into the buzzing and restless streets of Mzansi to perform their duties as the nation’s enforcers.
The nationwide lockdown will be in place until Thursday 21 April. The government turned to this extreme as a direct assault on the rapid spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
What’s the latest infection rate?
The latest updates from South Africa’s health department confirmed, on Thursday, that the total infections have risen to 927, 281 new of which were cases recorded in the last 24 hours.
Ramaphosa conceded to the probability of infections rising to 1 500 in the next few days but stressed that this period is crucial in flattening the curve. This, he said, is only achievable if both the society and law enforcement work together.
It sure is an unusual time in the Republic of South Africa. An invisible enemy has infiltrated our atmosphere and there is no better time to defend our survival as a united nation.
Here is a full rundown on the operational protocol for the next 21 days:
The rules of SA lockdown
South Africans have been ordered to stay at home for 21 days, starting from 23:59 Thursday 26 March until Thursday 16 April. The only time citizens are permitted to be outside is for:
- grocery store visits;
- pharmacy and medical centre visits;
- bank appointments;
- social grant collections. and
- if you are an essential worker.
All modes of transportation, with the exception of minibuses, have been suspended and there are strict rules in place on how people are permitted to move:
- People living in remote areas will be allowed four hours, in two intervals (05:00 – 09:100 and 16:00 – 20:00), to commute per day;
- If travelling by car; a five-seater can only accommodate two people (the driver and the passenger) and in seven-seaters, a maximum of three, including the driver;
- If travelling by taxi, there can only be a maximum of 11 people in a 22-seater.
- People living closer to amenities are permitted to perform any of the above-mentioned tasks, at any time where it is reasonable and necessary to do so;
- Supermarkets and other essential outlets are advised to keep the limit of shoppers in-store to 50;
- Burial services can only accommodate a maximum of 50 mourners;
- The sale of tobacco and alcohol is prohibited for the duration of the lockdown;
- People are prohibited from drinking alcohol reserves in public;
- If you are caught wondering aimlessly, law enforcement has been instructed to assert authority in a kind way;
- In extreme circumstances (if you are found with toxic paraphernalia or to be defiant) people can be arrested and charged with attempted murder, facing a stint of at least six months. A lighter punishment is a hefty fine;
- Justice Minister Ronald Lamola confirmed that the courts will operate in a reduced capacity, with priority cases related to lockdown offences or complaints high up on the list.
Probably the most important rule, and the simplest to commit to, is staying at home. Only go outside when it completely necessary to do so.
If you do find yourself outside, keep away from people, do not touch your face — under no circumstance — and wash your hands after every interaction with the outside world for at least 20 seconds and apply hand sanitizer as often as possible.
The determination in our efforts to unite as an unequal society will be put to the test for the next 21 days. But, as history will tell you, ubuntu will prevail.