Lockdown Level 4 in South Africa – Who can Return to Business as Usual? | Legal Articles


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Lockdown Level 4 in South Africa – Who can Return to Business as Usual?

Although we have officially kickstarted lockdown level 4 in South Africa, there is still major confusion around which industries are permitted to begin their phased return to normal operations.

In this article, we explain which industries are permitted to resume their business functions and what regulations they are expected to adhere to.

lockdown level 4 in south africa

Lockdown Level 4 in South Africa Explained

There were a number of factors that were taken into consideration when deciding on the list of businesses that may return to work as of the 1st of May 2020:

  • Risk of transmission
  • The economic impact of the prolonged closure of that sector
  • The broader contribution of the sector to the economy
  • The socio-economic importance of the sector

The fundamental purpose of level 4 lockdown is to gradually reignite the economy which has been almost entirely dormant for the last 5 weeks.

According to the minister of Trade and Industries, an estimated 40% of workers will be able to go back to work as part of this phase.

However, this will still take place under strict regulation and control. We discuss below which sectors of the economy will be permitted to return to work as well as the applicable restrictions.


Based on the following restrictions, the following workers in the manufacturing industry may return to work:

  • 50% of workers related construction as well as those related to the manufacturing of stationery and cement
  • 100% of workers related to the manufacturing of level 4 essential products and paper
  • 100% of workers related to the production of fuel and refineries
  • 50% of workers related to the manufacturing of automotive equipment
  • 50% of workers related to the manufacturing of winter clothing and bedding
  • 20% of all other manufacturing
Retail and Wholesale

The following, previously restricted items may be sold by South African retailers:

  • Medical supplies
  • Winter clothing, bedding and heating
  • Gas
  • Components for vehicles for essential workers
  • Chemicals and packaging
  • Hardware supplies for qualified tradespersons and essential worker
  • Live streaming
  • Online services
  • Newspapers
  • Broadcasting
Logistics and Transport
  • E-hailing
  • Limited public transport
  • Cargo for domestic and neighbouring transport, with level 4 goods a priority
  • All ICT workers
  • All workers related to the sale of ICT equipment
  • Courier and postal services for medical and other level 4 goods
  • 100% of workers responsible for coal production for Eskom
  • 100% of workers who are working with open-cast mining
  • 50% of other workers

Subject to social distancing rules:

  • Harvesting
  • Forestry
  • Food, livestock and farming producers
  • Essential fishing operations
  • 50% of workers related to recycling
  • Vet and medical services
  • All social workers
  • Funeral and cremation services
  • Pest control and sanitation
Domestic Support
  • Live-in staff and support for level 4 personnel
Business and Finance
  • Call centres
  • Private security
  • Workers responsible for payroll
  • Essential financial services

Level 4 Restrictions

Although many businesses and workers are breathing a sigh of relief with the lifting of some restrictions, there are many that remain in place:

  • Workers above the age of 60 should stay at home or be offered a work-from-home solution
  • ALL staff that can work from home must do so
  • Workers with co-morbidities should stay at home or be offered a work-from-home solution
  • Workplaces must have risk assessment plans in place
  • Mass testing should be carried out for workplaces with more than 500 workers
  • Wearing a facemask is mandatory when leaving the house
  • Exercise is permitted during 6am and 9am every morning and gyms will remain closed
  • A nationwide curfew requires every person to be at home during 8pm and 5am (excluding essential workers or those with a medical emergency)
  • Visiting family, friends or neighbours is still prohibited

Van Deventer & Van Deventer Incorporated – Attorneys in South Africa

Although some workers may return to work and certain sectors can restart their operations, it’s still important for everyone to adhere to the restrictions in place during level 4.

Not complying with some of these restrictions may be considered a criminal offence and from a legal perspective, our attorneys advise that everyone in South Africa continues to stay at home as far as possible.

If you would like more information on the legal consequences of not adhering to the guidelines of lockdown level 4 in South Africa, please contact us.

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