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Cabinet meeting, March 2019 – Photo: GCIS/Flickr

State of Disaster laws extended again – but NOT by Dlamini-Zuma…

Our State of Disaster laws will stay the same for the next five weeks at least – but it wasn’t Minister Dlamini-Zuma extending the restrictions on Thursday.

Worst performing ministers performance targets

Cabinet meeting, March 2019 – Photo: GCIS/Flickr

South Africans hoping for a surprise exit out of lockdown have had their hopes dashed on Thursday, after Cabinet confirmed that the State of Disaster laws would be extended once more. However, COGTA Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was not the bearer of bad news this time around.

State of Disaster laws extended to July 2021

The responsibility actually fell to the Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni. She was entrusted to deliver the summary of Cabinet’s latest discussions, and shared their conclusions with the media. There was a lot of ‘noting’ going off, but the extension of the State of Disaster period was the undoubted headline act.

  • The State of Disaster for South Africa will now be in place up until Thursday 15 July 2021 – five weeks from today:

“Cabinet has approved the extension of the National State of Disaster on COVID-19 until 15 July 2021. The extension enables SA to continue with the non-pharmaceutical interventions against the virus, whilst also vaccinating the population.”

“We are reminding all South Africans to remain vigilant and adhere to the restrictions under level 2 of the National lockdown, and we as a government are committed to working with communities across the country to improve their living conditions during the pandemic.” | Statement from the Cabinet of South Africa

No Dlamini-Zuma, but the same outcome for South Africa

As COGTA Minister, the responsibility to confirm an extended State of Disaster falls on Dlamini-Zuma’s desk monthly. However, she can take a few weeks off from being the pantomime villain this time around. The final publication of these extended laws will go through her office, though.

With South Africa now in the grip of a third wave of COVID-19, it seems unlike that 15 July will be the day restrictions are lifted. They are likely to be renewed again next month, and the one after, and so on. Until SA gets a large percentage of its population vaccinated, the State of Disaster rules won’t be shifting.

Cabinet welcomes Sinovac approval

Cabinet has welcomed the validation of the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use by the World Health Organisation (WHO). This, Cabinet said, will enable the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) to expeditiously consider the application of Sinovac for emergency use in South Africa.

Last week, WHO validated the Sinovac-CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, giving countries, funders, procuring agencies and communities the assurance that it meets international standards for safety, efficacy and manufacturing. The vaccine is produced by the Beijing-based pharmaceutical company, Sinovac.