South Africa has been on lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic since the 27th of March 2020 and as of date, South Africa has 4220 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 79 deaths..
Below is the gist of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address to the nation on the 23rd of April 2020 and details relevant to the risk-adjusted strategy for the resumption of economic activity in the country..
Further to the various updates we have been posting here about the COVID-19 lockdown situation in South Africa and the various regulatory changes thereof, SARS has published an update from their side on the measures relating to COVID-19 and the Impact on Customs of new Government regulations..
This update replaces the Customs Practice Note and its Explanatory Note issued on 06 and 07 April 2020 respectively..
In its announcement of measures for the COVID-19 lockdown, Transnet, the parastatal responsible for the operations of the ports and terminals in South Africa finalised and announced a series of measures to ensure throughput of essential services in line with the Maritime Security Regulations and Directives..
As part of these directives, only essential cargoes were allowed to be moved as directed by the Government.. On the 2nd of April 2020, these regulations were amended to allow the movement of non-essential goods as well..
Transnet has accordingly revised its operational measures and issued communication relating to the movement of non-essential goods..
On the 23rd of March 2020, the President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa declared a nationwide lock-down as of the midnight of Thursday 26th March 2020..
The lockdown is part of South Africa’s bid to contain and slow down the spread of Coronavirus COVID-19 in the country and enforces a total lockdown on all services with exception of essential services as defined in the Regulations issued on the 25th of March 2020..
In line with these regulations, Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) announced that they will remain operational to support the transportation of essential goods and services as well as those goods and services that support the production or provision of those essential goods and services to the country..
Citing the unforeseen impact of COVID-19 as beyond their control, TPT has advised their customers that they are invoking the provisions of the Force Majeure clauses in TPT’s commercial agreements and Standard Trading Terms and Conditions..
Further to the various updates on COVID-19 with regards to South Africa, in a Presidential announcement on 23rd March, the President Mr.Cyril Ramaphosa announced a further series of measures to contain the spread of the virus..
This includes a 21 day lock down of the country starting from midnight of 26th March 2020.. The full announcement from the President is as below..
Transnet National Ports Authority is responsible for the management of the 8 commercial ports in South Africa and we value our employees, stakeholders and port users. It is important for us to review the risks and address any gaps, in preventing the spread of the disease.
Due to the risks this global pandemic poses, and the rapid increase of cases in South Africa, Transnet National Ports Authority(TNPA) has implemented additional measures to regulations published by the Department of Transport and the directives from the Department of Health which became effective from 18 March 2020.
The President has declared the outbreak of the Coronavirus in South Africa as a National State of Disaster.
Here is the latest update on COVID-19 posted by the office of the Chief Harbour Master – Transnet National Ports Authority..
South Africa exports and imports of goods equivalent to the value of about 60% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).. This puts international trade front and center of South Africa’s economy..
The size of this trade indicates that South Africa is a very open economy.. While having an open economy is a good thing, it does expose the country to greater volatility as the economy is influenced by global events and economies to a large extent..
The robustness of this trade could however, suffer due to the current hot topic on everyone’s mind.. Corona Virus or COVID-19..
The burning question that everyone has is what impact will COVID-19 have on South Africa’s trade especially as all of the above 5 countries have been affected by the virus with China being the worst affected and others not far behind..
Andrew Pike, Head of Bowmans Ports, Logistics and Transport sector shares some useful information on COVID-19 from South Africa’s shipping perspective..