• Adami Geldenhuys

Covid-19 Regulatory Update: 22 - 28 September 2021


This edition refers to:

  • several matters relating to corruption;

  • the legal consequences of medical ill-advice about the COVID-19 vaccines;

  • a gazette notice about the review and possible amendment of Regulation 49 (Application of Alert Level) of the Lockdown Regulations, RGN480 of 29 April 2020 as amended;

  • the judgment on the criteria used by the Minister of Tourism for the allocation of the Covid-19 tourism relief funds.

ALERT LEVEL

COMPENSATION

CORRUPTION

EMPLOYMENT

LOCKDOWN CONTRAVENTIONS

ORIGINS OF COVID-19

SOCIAL GRANTS

TERS

TOURISM RELIEF FUNDS

TRAVEL

VACCINES

ALERT LEVEL


Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002

Regulations under section 27(2): Amendment of RGN480 of 29 April 2020 as amended by RGN608 of 28 May 2020; RGN714 of 25 June 2020; RGN763 of 12 July 2020; RGN846 of 31 July 2020; GN891 of 17 August 2020; GN999 of 18 September 2020; GN1011 of 20 September 2020; GN1053 of 1 October 2020; GN1104 of 21 October 2020; GN1199 of 11 November 2020; GN1290 of 3 December 2020; GN1346 of 15 December 2020; GN1370 of 17 December 2020; GN1421 of 24 December 2020; RGN1423 of 29 December 2020; RGN1435 of 29 December 2020; RGN11 of 11 January 2021; RGN69 of 1Feb2021; RGN92 of 13Feb2021; RGN93 of 13Feb2021; RGN152 of 28 February 2021; RGN284 of 30Mar2021; GN376 of 23 April 2021; RGN477 of 31May2021; RGN530 of 15Jun2021; RGN532 of 17Jun2021; RGN565 of 27Jun2021; RGN567 of 29Jun2021; RGN610 of 11Jul2021; RGN612 of 14Jul2021; RGN614 of 14Jul2021; RGN651 of 25Jul2021, GN669 of 30Jul2021and RGN869 of 12Sep2021.

Amendment of Regulation 49 (Application of Alert Level) by substitution of sub-section (2) with effect from date of publication …”(2) The provisions of these Regulations shall be reviewed and amended where necessary, in one week from the date of publication of this subregulation in the Gazette.”

RGN953 GG 45222 p3 26Sep2021


Lockdown now due to be ‘reviewed’ by 3 October – after govt just missed Ramaphosa’s deadline. - 2021 Sept 27 Business Insider SA


COMPENSATION


Parliamentary Question NW 2132 to the Minister of Employment and Labour. 21 September 2021.

“Cardo, Dr MJ to ask the Minister of Employment and Labour: What (a) number of claims related to COVID-19 has the Compensation Fund (i) received and (ii) approved in terms of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act, Act 130 of 1993, since the imposition of the lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19 in March 2020 and (b) is the value of benefits paid to date?”


CORRUPTION


Claasen, Larry. About R3,39bn in criminal proceeds recovered - R659m related to Covid graft. - 2021 Sept 22 Business Insider SA


Council members violated act. - 2021 Sept 27 Enca

Extract from article: “Arts and Culture Minister, Nathi Mthethwa, says National Arts Council members broke the law. He was releasing a report into missing COVID-19 relief funds set aside for artists. The minister says those responsible will be held accountable. Meanwhile, funds illegally paid to people from the Artist Relief Fund will have to be paid back. Earlier this year it was reported that R300m meant for the artist’s relief fund was misallocated.”

Heywood, Mark. Covid-19 corruption tops R14-billion but to bust criminals we need to drastically boost prosecution services and courts. - 2021 Sept 21 Daily Maverick

Maswenen, Kgaugelo. SCA dismisses Ledla's appeal in R139m PPE corruption case. -

2021 Sept 22 TimesLive


Mthethwa: misallocated funds must be paid back. - 2021 Sept 27 eNCA

“Funds received illegally by National Arts Council members from the Artist Relief Fund will have to be paid back. Arts and Culture Minister, Nathi Mthetwa, says his department is seeking legal advice on this issue.”


Myburgh, Pieter-Louis. Digital Vibes: Zweli Mkhize’s pal splurged Covid funds on Gucci gear, Smeg appliances and monthslong holiday. - 2021 Sept 22 Daily Maverick


New unit will look at government workers with ‘unexplained wealth’ in South Africa: Ramaphosa. - 2021 Sept 27 Business Tech

Extract from article: “The government has introduced a new ‘ethics unit’ targeting unscrupulous public sector employees, including those whose lifestyles don’t match their salaries, says President Cyril Ramaphosa…“The new unit has already begun its work in earnest, helping to identify public servants involved in cases related to Covid-19 procurement, the special Covid-19 grant and Unemployment Insurance Fund fraud.”


Nicholson, Greg. Director-General Sandile Buthelezi suspended over his role in Digital Vibes scandal. - 2021 Sept 26 Daily Maverick


EMPLOYMENT


Hamman, Salomé. Restraint of trade: Is this still enforceable in the current climate? -

2021 Sep 22 SchoemanLaw Inc

Extract from article: “In the recent case of Bearings International v Veeradu, an unreported case from the Durban Labour Court, a matter was heard on 18 May 2021, and judgement delivered: 30 June 2021, the judge unpacked the enforceability of restraint trade in a COVID-19 economy.”


LOCKDOWN CONTRAVENTIONS


Cilliers, Charles. ‘Who’s fooling who?’ ANC roasted for ‘breaching’ lockdown regulations. -

2021 Sept 27 The Citizen

“The ruling party has ensured hundreds of thousands of people were arrested thanks to unpopular lockdown regulations.”


Githahu, Mwangi. Wife had to sit in the car at husband’s funeral after allegedly getting Covid-19 from his corpse. - 2021 Sept 27 Cape Argus

Extract from article: “A 65-year-old widow in Cape Town said she and her children were infected with Covid-19 after they were allowed to touch her dead husband in the hospital where he succumbed to the virus. Carol Benjamin said that as a result she had to sit in the car on the day of her husband’s funeral while some of her children could not attend…. The department admits their Covid-19 guidelines were not adhered to in this case and that “the hospital managers have prioritised the information from this complaint and are implementing measures to help prevent similar episodes in the future.””


ORIGINS OF COVID-19


The WHO is restarting its investigation into whether Covid-19 leaked from a Chinese lab, report says. - 2021 Sept 27 Business Insider US


SOCIAL GRANTS


Mafata, Masego. Activists demand SASSA fix “flawed” Covid-19 grant application process. - 2021 Sept 24 Groundup


Unemployed caregivers with no IDs eligible for Covid-19 SRD grant. - 2021 Sept 23 Berea Mail


TERS


Department: Employment and Labour. Employer released on bail following arrest for allegedly defrauding UIF Covid-19 TERS monies. 23 September 2021.

Extract from article: “The employer of Dagbreek Farm in Graafwater, who allegedly defrauded the UIF COVID-19 Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS), was granted a R5 000 bail, after he appeared in the Clanwilliam Magistrates court this week.”


TOURISM RELIEF FUNDS


Afriforum NPC v Minister of Tourism and Others; Solidarity Trade Union v Minister of Small Business Development and Others (499/2020; 498/2020) [2021] ZASCA 121 (22 September 2021)

Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002 (DMA) – Validity of direction made by Minister of Tourism under DMA for provision of funds from Tourism Relief Fund to defined types of businesses in tourism industry – Purpose of funds to mitigate impact of COVID-19 – Minister of Tourism not obliged by Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act 53 of 2003, s 10(1)(e) to make eligibility criteria subject to Tourism Sector Code in terms of Act – Minister committed error of law.


Pillay, Kailene. Tourism minister's criteria for equity fund 'illegal', says SCA. - 2021 Sept 22 IOL

“The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) today granted leave to appeal to AfriForum and Solidarity Trade Union who argued that the minister of tourism was not legally entitled to use B-BBEE criteria as the main requirement to access emergency funds in the tourism sector. AfriForum approached the SCA to review the decision by the Department of Tourism to make relief funding available, subject to B-BBEE criteria, and to have it set aside.”

Smith, Carin. Use of BEE criteria for govt's R200m Covid-19 tourism relief is unlawful, SCA finds. - 2021 Sept 22 News24

TRAVEL


‘Growing pressure’ on UK to drop hotel quarantine as Ireland offers a loophole to some from SA. - 2021 Sept 27 Business Insider SA


Mitchley, Alex. UK to use SA data and input when reviewing status on Covid-19 travel red list. - 2021 Sept 28 News24

Extract from article: ““The United Kingdom will be using data and expertise from South Africa when it reviews its Covid-19 travel red list. This comes after the UK updated its international travel rules, announcing that eight countries, including Kenya and Egypt, will be moved from the red to the amber list. At the same time, South Africa will remain on the red list.”


VACCINES


Medical Ill Advice


Maphumulo, Mtho. Legal ramifications and recourse of medical ill-advice regarding COVID-19 vaccines. - 2021 Sep 20 Adams & Adams

Extract from article: “Whilst most people can easily escape the legal consequences of ill-advice and spreading “fake news” about the vaccines, it is crucial to consider the legal position when a medical person is involved. In view thereof, this piece will zoom into the following: instances where medical ill-advice may occur; legal implications where a person who was ill-advised subsequently passes on or suffers severe symptoms of COVID-19; and, lastly, the legal recourse available if the aforesaid occurs.”


Mandatory Vaccination


Feyche, Marie. Federal judge upholds hospital’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. -

2021 Sept 26 Jurist

“A federal judge ruled Friday that St. Elizabeth Healthcare, a healthcare provider in Cincinnati, has authority to require employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This appears to be the first ruling in the US involving a request for an injunction against a private employer’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.”


Vaccine Mandates


Karim, Safura Abdool. Balancing act: Covid-19 vaccine mandates don’t have to undermine your individual rights. - 2021 Sept 26 Daily Maverick


Vaccine Passport


South Africa’s vaccine passport – the legal ‘test’ you should know about. - 2021 Sept 23 Business Tech

Extract from article: “However, restricting access to public spaces or employment to those who have been vaccinated raises important and complex constitutional questions, says legal firm Webber Wentzel. “Such a restriction may be imposed directly on individuals by the government through legislation, or legislation may be enacted to empower public venues to lawfully restrict entrance to those who can demonstrate that they have been fully vaccinated.”




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