Justice Minister Ronald Lamola said that there was already a clear indication that the country’s state of disaster will be extended beyond the 15th of January.
The declaration is meant to come to an end in two weeks’ time but Lamola, during a media briefing, told journalists that if there was a review on the cards, it was likely to happen around the 10th of next month.
President Cyril Ramaphosa placed the country on alert level 3 on Monday night, restricting nightclubs, beach visitations and the sale of alcohol. This level will also see the compulsory use of masks coming into play, with South Africans now being liable for a fine or being sentenced to at least six months in jail for non-compliance.
Minister Lamola said that if there was to be a review of the current state of disaster, it would happen in the second week of January. “All indications are that with the reports coming from Health, we may have to again extend the state of disaster. But in terms of which regulations will be applicable, it will be announced when there is a review,” the minister said.
He said that while there was no set fine for those found to have transgressed current legislation, chief magistrates have been working on guidelines in order to have a uniform approach. “They’ve now developed guidelines which are guiding them in terms of what is the appropriate penalty or fine for any offence falling within the Disaster Management Act.”
President Ramaphosa said that the latest restrictions were aimed at curbing the spread of the pandemic as well as freeing up resources in the health sector.