4 lockdown changes you may have missed – including visa extensions and home affairs service suspension

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The government has released a number of new lockdown regulatory changes as part of the country’s move to an extended Level 3 lockdown.

In a nationwide speech on Monday evening (January 11), Ramaphosa said the extended Level 3 lockdown will include a continued ban on the sale of alcohol, a new curfew and the closure of the country’s land borders.

However, the government has also introduced a number of minor changes in the latest round of foreclosure regulations that you may have missed.


Banks

The latest regulations state that all banks and financial institutions must:

  • Ensure that all automated teller machines (ABMs) have hand sanitizers for public use at each ATM;
  • Make sure that people in line at the ATM keep a distance of one and a half meters from each other.

At a press conference on Tuesday, the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, explained that the change had been made because the government feared that bank queues could become “ super-spreader events ”.

“It has come to our attention that people are lining up at ATMs, but there is no disinfection there,” she said.

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“The regulations state that every bank or financial institution that has an ATM must ensure that there are disinfectants at the ATM. This is very important because otherwise ATMs could become super spreaders. “


Home affairs services

Due to the rapid rise in Covid-19 infections and a number of affected Home Affairs staff, branches across the country are suspending some services until further notice.

Suspended services include:

  • Smart ID apps and collections. Only learners of the registration number will be able to request Smart IDs under the current lock level;
  • Passport applications, except for persons who fall within the categories authorized to travel under the amended regulations of the Disaster Management Act;
  • Marriage services and the celebration and registration of marriages;
  • Issuance of birth certificates. Births should be registered at the health facilities where they take place.

“We realize that it will be difficult for people. Please stay with us. We are trying to save lives while providing enabling documents, ”said Minister Aaron Motsoaledi.

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For all other services, the Home Affairs offices will remain open between 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.


Extensions

The latest regulations also extended the validity of visas that expired during the lockdown period.

Foreign nationals in the country with expired and automatically extended visas until January 31, 2021. Due to their inability to travel during the lockdown due to Covid-19, their visas will be automatically extended until March 31, 2021.

This means that foreigners living in the country have a grace period of almost a year if their visa has expired.

This is a similar situation to the country’s driving licenses which were also extended in December.

Licenses that expire during the period from March 26, 2020 to December 31, 2020 inclusive will remain valid and their validity period will be extended for a new grace period ending on August 31, 2021.

This applies to

  • All apprenticeship licenses;
  • Driver’s license cards;
  • Temporary driving licenses; and
  • Professional driving license.
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Beaches

In a move that has clearly been made to prevent South Africans from taking advantage of any loopholes, the latest foreclosure regulations now have a clear definition of what a ‘beach’ is.

Under current lockdown restrictions, South Africans cannot access beaches in provinces that have been declared sensitive areas. At the time of writing, this includes all coastal provinces except the Gazette du Nord.

The new definition provides text indicating where and where South Africans are not allowed to congregate or walk.

In this case, “beach” designates the sandy, pebbly or rocky shore between the high water mark and the low water line adjacent to:

  • The sea;
  • An estuary mouth extending 1,000 meters inland from the mouth; and
  • Less than 100 meters from the high water mark, excluding private property. including the sea and the estuary themselves adjacent to the beach.

Read: Government will only revise latest lockdown restrictions when we pass Covid: Dlamini-Zuma peak

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