Frequently asked questions about the lockdown (Alert Level 5)
To stop the spread of coronavirus Covid-19, the National Government have announced a lockdown across South Africa. Please stay at home during this time.
What is a lockdown?
A lockdown is an emergency protocol that requires all South Africans to stay at home unless:
- You are performing an essential service
- You are getting an essential good or receiving an essential service
- You are collecting a social grant
- You are seeking emergency, life-saving or chronic medical attention
Note that you may be subjected to screening for Covid-19 by an enforcement officer while you are not at home. In addition:
- Grocery stores, pharmacies, banks and other essential services will remain open
- Retail shops and shopping malls must be closed, except where essential goods are sold on condition that the person in control must ensure safe distancing and hygiene conditions
- Only essential goods may be sold in retail stores;
- All South African borders are closed during the period of lockdown, except for the transportation of essential goods and fuel.
How long will be lockdown be in place for?
The full national lockdown began at midnight on Thursday 26 March, and will continue until midnight on Thursday, 30 April.
What happens after the lockdown?
At this stage, we don't know. National government will continue to monitor the situation and the rate of Covid-19 infections to determine the best course of action to stop the spread of Covid-19.
More information will be communicated as the situation develops.
What is the purpose of a lockdown?
The nation-wide lockdown is necessary to fundamentally stop the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) in South Africa, by disrupting the chain of transmission. It will stop the spread of the Covid-19 and save South African lives.
What will I be able to do under lockdown?
During the lockdown you will be able to:
- Seek medical care
- Buy essential goods
- Visit the pharmacy
- Access banking and other essential services
- Get petrol
- Collect a social grant
You will also be able to attend a funeral, but there can be no more than 50 people at the funeral, no vigil must be held and all safety and hygiene measurer must be followed to top the spread of Covid-19.
Note that you do not have to fill out a form to leave the house to buy essential goods or access essential services.
Only those leaving their homes to go to work require a permit from their employer to confirm that they are providing essential goods or essential services.
What can't I do under the lockdown?
During the lockdown you will NOT be able to:
- Travel between the provinces
- Travel between the City of Cape Town metropolitan area and other areas of the Western Cape
- Leave South Africa
What will happen if I don't obey the lockdown regulations?
Anyone who contravenes the lockdown regulations by not adhering to the restrictions on movement and closures will be guilty of an offence and on conviction, liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or to both such fine and imprisonment.
What must I do if I am stopped or arrested by enforcement officers when I have left my home during the lockdown?
If you are stopped, supply your reason for leaving home which should be accepted if in line with the permissible reasons to leave home.
Your employer must provide you with a permit, in writing, in the prescribed form, in order to leave your residence to perform an essential service. This permit must be shown to the enforcement officer when you are stopped after leaving home to perform an essential service.
If arrested, you should be afforded all the normal rights. A State of Disaster should by definition be implemented in a manner consistent with the Bill of Rights.
How do I lay a complaint against law enforcement?
Complaints against SAPS can be submitted to the Western Cape Police Ombudsman (WCPO) if it relates to police inefficiency:
Or you can submit your complaint online at www.westerncape.gov.za/police-ombudsman
Complaints against SANDF can be submitted to the Military Ombudsman:
Tel: 012 676 3800
Toll Free: 080 726 6283
Complaints against SAPS or the Cape Town Metro Police that relate to police misconduct can be submitted to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID):
Inefficiencies or brutality related to Law Enforcement: RichardGavin.Bosman@capetown.gov.za
If I see someone disobeying the lockdown who do I report them to?
You can call 10111 or your local police or law enforcement to report any lockdown transgressions.
I am aware of businesses selling essential goods at hiked prices - who can I report this to?
Consumers can report unjustified price increases on any essential goods and other key products to the National Consumer Commission on their toll-free hotline: 0800-014-880
What are the goods that will be available during the lockdown?
The goods that will be available for you to buy during the lockdown include the following:
- Any food product, including non-aloholic beverages
- Animal food
- Chemicals, packaging and ancillary products used in the production of any food product
Cleaning and Hygiene Products
- Toilet paper, sanitary pads, sanitary tampons, condoms
- Hand sanitiser, disinfectants, soap, alcohol, household cleaning products and personal proactive equipment
- Chemicals, packaging and ancillary products used in the production of any of the above
- Products for care of babies and toddlers
- Personal toiletries, including haircare, body and face washes, roll-ons, deoderants, toothpaste
- Medical and hospital supplies, equipment and personal protective equipment
- Chemicals, packaging and ancillary products used in the production of any of the above
Fuel, including coal and gas.
Basic goods, including airtime and electricity.
What if I have an emergency?
Emergency services including doctors, clinics, hospitals and pharmacies will continue to operate as usual.
Who will be able to work?
All those whose job is an essential service will remain at work. A list of essential services will be published, including pharmacies, banks, supermarkets, petrol stations and healthcare providers.
Companies that are essential to the production and transportation of food, basic goods and medical supplies will remain open. See list of essential goods and services
Should I stock up now?
Grocery stores and banking services will remain open throughout the lockdown period.
Can I still use public transport during lockdown?
You can't use public transport unless it is for the purpose of performing an essential service, getting essential goods, seeking medical attention or funeral services and collecting social grants.
Only bus services, taxi services (including minibus taxis), e-hailing services and private motor vehicles may be used to travel for these purposes during the lockdown.
Note that there will be a limited service during certain time. See details in the next question.
When using these modes of transport the vehicle you're travelling in must carry no more passengers than 50% of the licensed capacity. For minimus taxis this means that they are only permitted to carry 8 people, rather than the usual 16.
Private vehicles must not carry more than 60% of the licensed capacity. All safety and hygiene measures must be followed to stop the spread of Covid-19.
If you are providing an essential service and unable to travel to your work, your employer must make the necessary transport arrangements for you to get to work.
If any essential service employers are experiencing problems with transporting their staff to work, they can contact the Department of Transport and Public Works on HOD.TransportPublicWorks@westerncape.gov.za, stating the nature of their transport challenge. Please provide specific details, including number of people that need to be transported, from where, to where, at what time.
If you are feeling any flu-like symptoms related to Covid-19, such as a fever or coughing, then it is better to stay at home. This is not only for yourself, but also to avoid infecting other commuters.
What times will public transport be available during the lockdown?
For one week only, from Monday, 30 March 2020 to Friday 3 March 2020, public transport services will be allowed to operate from 05:00 (5 am) to 20:00 (8 pm) to facilitate the collection of social grants.
For the rest of the lockdown, minibus taxis, metered taxis, e-hailing services and buses may only operate from 05:00 (5 am) to 09:00 (9 am), and from 16:00 (4 pm) to 20:00 (8 pm). Take careful note of these operating hours to avoid being stranded without transport.
In the Western Cape, the following bus services are operating:
- On 26 March 2020, the City of Cape Town announced that a reduced MyCiti service will continue operating to transport health workers, other workers for essential businesses and services, and those who need to procure essentials – food, medicine, and social grants.
- In the same announcement, the City of Cape Town said that its Dial-a-Ride service will keep operating, but only to transport users to hospitals or clinics for general health-related consultations, and to procure medicine and collect grants. Those who are providing essential services will be transported to work. Bookings must be done in advance, as is currently the case.
- On 26 March 2020, Golden Arrow Bus Services announced that it would run reduced services from 05:00 until 09:00 and again from 16:00 until 20:00.
- On 26 March 2020, the Go George bus service announced it would be providing a reduced service on most of the main routes, focused on essential services staff from 05:00 until 09:00 and again from 16:00 until 20:00.
As divorced parents who share custody over our child(ren), will we be allowed to transfer our child(ren) between homes?
The lockdown regulations do not make provision for you to leave your homes in order to transfer children between homes.
As the lockdown has now commenced the child(ren) must remain with the parent they are currently residing with.
Can I leave my home to walk my dog, or do any exercises, such as jogging or cycling?
No you can't leave your home to walk your dog or do exercises, such as jogging or cycling.
Can I buy alcohol during the lockdown?
No alcohol may be sold anywhere during the lockdown.
Can I buy cigarettes during the lockdown?
No, you can’t buy cigarettes during the lockdown.