What are the essential services?

The following services are considered essential and will carry out their functions during Alert Level 4:

  • Medical health (including mental health), laboratory and medical services, and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases
  • Disaster management, fire prevention, fire-fighting and emergency services
  • Financial services necessary to maintain the functioning of financial system as defined in the Financial Sector Regulation Act including:
    • the banking environment (including the operations of mutual banks, co-operative banks, co-operative financial institutions and the Postbank)
    • the payments environment
    • the financial markets (including market infrastructures licensed under the Financial Markets Act, 2012 (Act No. 19 of 2012))
    • the insurance environment
    • the savings and investment environment
    • pension fund administration
    • outsourced administration
    • medical schemes administration
    • additional services set out in direction
    • these services may not be construed to include debt collection services
  • Services necessary for the provision of social grants
  • Production and sale of essential goods
  • Wholesale and retail stores for re-stocking
  • Electricity (including vital demand management services), water, gas and fuel production, supply and maintenance
  • Critical jobs for essential government services as determined by the Head of National or Provincial departments in accordance with the guidance by the DPSA, including those providing social grant payments
  • Essential municipal services
  • Care services and social relief of distress provided to older persons, mentally ill persons, persons with disabilities, the sick and children
  • Wildlife management, anti-poaching and animal care and veterinary services
  • Newspaper, broadcasting and telecommunication infrastructure and services, including call centres critical for the support of such services
  • Production and sale of any chemicals, hygiene products, pharmaceuticals for the medical or retail sector
  • Cleaning, sanitation, pest control, sewerage, waste and refuse removal services
  • Services related to the essential functioning of courts, judicial officers, the Master of the High Court, Sheriffs and legal practitioners required for those services
  • Essential SARS services defined by the Commissioner of SARS
  • Police, peace officers, traffic officers, military medical personnel and soldiers, correctional services officials and traffic management services
  • Postal services and courier services related to transport of medical products
  • Private security services
  • Air-Traffic Navigation, Civil Aviation Authority, Cargo Shipping and dockyard services
  • Gold, gold refinery, coal and essential mining
  • Accommodation used for persons rendering essential services, quarantine, isolation and the lockdown
  • Production, manufacturing, supply, logistics, transport, delivery, critical maintenance and repair in relation to the rendering of essential services including components and equipment
  • Transport services for persons rendering essential services and goods, and transportation of patients
  • Services rendered by the Executive, Members of Parliament, Members of the Provincial Legislature, Members of Local Councils, the Judiciary, traditional leaders and National office bearers of Political parties represented in Parliament
  • Commissioners of the South African Human Rights Commission, Gender Commission, and the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities, and the Public Protector
  • Transport and logistics in respect of cargo and essential goods to neighbouring countries
  • Tow trucks and vehicle recovery services
  • Call centres necessary to provide health, safety, social support, government and financial services, debt restructuring to consumers of retailers, and access to short-term insurance policies as a result of reduced income or loss of income
  • Harvesting and storage activities essential to prevent the wastage of primary agricultural goods
  • Implementation of payroll systems to the extent that such arrangement has not been made for the lockdown, to ensure timeous payments to workers
  • Critical maintenance services which cannot be delayed for more than 21 days and are essential to resume operations
  • Trades necessary for the rendering of emergency repair work including plumbers, electricians, locksmiths, glaziers, roof repair work
  • Trades necessary for emergency automobile repairs for persons rendering essential services
  • Information and Communication Technology services rendered to entities and institutions engaged in delivering essential services

What businesses are permitted to open?

The following industries and activities will be permitted to operate, subject to strict health protocols and social distancing rules, that employees’ return to work is phased in to implement measures to make the workplace Covid-19 ready and return to work is done in a manner that avoids and reduces risks of infection.

See full list.

What are the essential goods?

The goods that will be produced and available to buy during the lockdown include the following:


  • Any food product, including non-alcoholic 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 for industrial use, 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, wood and gas

Basic goods, including airtime, electricity and the withdrawal of cash

Hardware, components and supplies required by any qualified tradespersons solely for the purpose of emergency repairs at residential homes

Hardware, components and supplies required by any entity engaged in the provision of essential services for any project related to the provision of water, electricity or other essential services

Components for vehicles under-going emergency repairs where such vehicle is used by a person engaged in essential services work.