This article contains a link to the official permit farmers and their workers will have to carry with them during the 21-day Covid-19 lockdown commencing at midnight. Food For Mzansi can confirm that any other version of this permit will not be accepted by the police nor army should you be traveling for an essential service until Thursday, 16 April 2020.
With only a few hours left before the lockdown kicks in, those workers who are exempted from the lockdown because they perform an essential service will have to urgently have their permits printed, signed and stamped. All those involved with the production, supply and distribution of food and basic goods will be allowed to still travel to and from their workplaces under “strictly controlled circumstances”.
The unprecedented lockdown – in a country with 57 million people – comes after an earlier announcement by Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa to try and prevent the spread of the highly contagious Covid-19 virus. As the nation scrambles to prepare for the lockdown, the minister of police, Bheki Cele, yesterday once again confirmed that those who are not working in essential services will only be allowed to leave their homes to go shopping for food, collect welfare grants and seek medical care.
Present permit to police, army
Agri SA deputy executive director, Christo van der Rheede, confirmed to Food For Mzansi that the official permit, as published in the Government Gazette last night, will have to be presented to the police or army should you be stopped on your way to perform an essential service. A form of identification will also have to be shown together with the permit. If you do not have an ID with you, you will have to return to your place of residence during the lockdown immediately.
Van der Rheede said, “It is very important that the entire industry needs to make sure that they understand what will be allowed, and not be allowed. People must also understand, if you deliver an essential service, that service will not be prohibited. The person delivering this essential service must have a letter identifying them to ensure that they are allowed to move freely whenever and wherever the service is delivered.”
Furthermore, Van der Rheede urged all municipalities, traditional leaders, provincial governments as well as all businesses to actively work towards curbing the dramatic spread of Covid-19.
“If the virus is going to spread further and lead to a high number of deaths in this country, government might even extend the lockdown and enforce more stringent measures. That will have dire implications for South Africa. So, everyone needs to work together. Yes, the economy is taking a big knock, but we have to balance the interest of communities, and also make sure that people are well-fed and have access to basic essential services.”
Coronavirus infections continue to surge in Mzansi, and now threatens to spiral out of control with the number of confirmed infections rising on a daily basis.
“There is no cure for this virus,” warned Dr Zweli Mkhize, the minister of health, in an interview with the SABC. “We can only treat the symptoms. Most people will not need any treatment.”
He added, though, people should not have a false sense of reassurance that the lockdown would make anyone safer. People still needed to wash their hands and take all the same precautions individually to prevent the spread.
Mkhize said, “We are trying to freeze the movement of the virus. In the next week or two, the numbers will have grown by three or four times or so. We mustn’t be shocked when we see them increase.”