Tag: rules

Source: NEASA

On 1 October 2020, the Department of Employment and Labour quietly published new consolidated Covid-19 regulations to which workplaces must adhere.

Although much of the previous regulations have been retained, there are a number of significant amendments which places a massive additional administrative burden on already-overstretched employers.

The new amendments are as follows:

  • Employers with more than 50 employees must submit a record of its risk assessment, as well as its policy regarding the protection of workers from Covid-19 to its Health and Safety Committee and to the Department of Employment and Labour, within 21 days from 1 October.
  • These documents must be sent to the Chief Provincial Inspector. This requirement was previously reserved for employers with more than 500 employees
  • Employers with more than 50 employees must submit data to the National Institute for Occupational Health in respect of prescribed categories of data
  • This data must be provided once in respect of each employees’ vulnerability status for serious outcomes of a Covid-19 infection and weekly, before Tuesday, in respect of data pertaining to infected or high-risk employees for the previous week
  • The 14 day isolation period for Covid-19 positive employees has now officially been reduced to 10 days, providing that the employee wears a surgical mask for 21 days from date of diagnosis, the employers closely monitors his/her symptoms and that personal hygiene in respect of masks, social distancing and cough etiquette is strictly adhered to
  • In the instance of a high-risk exposure, employees so exposed must remain in quarantine for 10 days and be placed on sick leave in terms of the BCEA or, if sick leave has been exhausted, apply for an illness benefit
  • Dispute resolution procedures in respect of employees who refuse to work due to a serious risk of Covid-19 exposure have been introduced

You can view the complete regulations here.

Government releases international travel rules

By Gaye Davis for EWN

Government on Wednesday revealed a long list of countries deemed to be high risk in terms of COVID-19 and said leisure travellers from these lands would not be allowed into South Africa.

Countries deemed to be high risk included the United Kingdom, the United States of America, India, France, Russia, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.

Ministers on the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) briefed the media on the easing of international travel restrictions with effect from Thursday.

High-skills visa holders, investors, and diplomats from high-risk countries, as well as South African citizens wishing to come home, would, however, be allowed entry – but should adhere to certain conditions.

Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi ran through the countries deemed to be high risk due to their COVID-19 infection and death rates.

Government would review the list fortnightly as infection and death rates change and would inform the public accordingly.

China was deemed to be low risk and anyone travelling to South Africa from an African country is permitted to enter.

International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor said all travellers entering South Africa would need a negative COVID-19 test performed no more than 72 hours before departure and would be screened on arrival.

Should they show symptoms, and test positive and could not self-isolate; they would be sent to a state-identified facility. Pandor said travellers would need mandatory travel insurance to cover any costs arising from this.

High-risk countries as at 30 September 2020 are as follows:

  1. Albania
  2. Argentina
  3. Armenia
  4. Austria
  5. Bahrain
  6. Belgium
  7. Bolivia
  8. Bosnia and Herzegovina
  9. Brazil
  10. Chile
  11. Columbia
  12. Costa Rica
  13. Croatia
  14. Czech Republic
  15. Denmark
  16. Ecuador
  17. France
  18. Georgia
  19. Greece
  20. Guatemala
  21. Guyana
  22. Honduras
  23. Hungary
  24. Iceland
  25. India
  26. Iran
  27. Iraq
  28. Ireland
  29. Israel
  30. Jamaica
  31. Jordan
  32. Kuwait
  33. Lebanon
  34. Luxemburg
  35. Maldives
  36. Malta
  37. Mexico
  38. Moldova
  39. Montenegro
  40. Nepal
  41. Netherlands
  42. North Macedonia
  43. Oman
  44. Palestine
  45. Panama
  46. Paraguay
  47. Peru
  48. Portugal
  49. Puerto Rico
  50. Qatar
  51. Romania
  52. Russia
  53. Slovakia
  54. Suriname
  55. Switzerland
  56. Ukraine
  57. United Emirates
  58. United Kingdom
  59. USA
  60. Venezuela

Return-to-school plan outlined by DBE

The Department of Basic Education published the amended school calendar for 2020 on 2 August 2020.

All public schools will break from 27 July 2020 and the school arrangements after the break are as follows:

School arrangements after break

27 – 31 Jul 2020 – The principal and the School Management Team will determine the staffing requirements to ensure compliance with the health, safety and social distancing requirements and to assist with the distribution of learning material and the roll out of the daily school feeding programme for all qualifying learners.
– The principal and the School Management Team must be on duty to make arrangements for the receipt of the learners anticipated in the weeks ahead.
– Schools will remain open for feeding of qualifying learners in terms of the National School Nutrition Programme.

3 – 7 Aug 2020 – Grade 12 and Schools of Skill: Year 4 learners will return to school on 3 August 2020.
– Grade 12 and Schools of Skill: Year 4 teachers (and teacher support staff) will return to school on 3 August 2020.
– The principal and the School Management Team (as required) will be in attendance at school.
– Officials (as identified by the principal and the School Management Team) will return to school on 3 August 2020, to assist in ensuring compliance with the health, safety and social distancing requirements and to assist in the distribution of learning material and the roll-out of the daily school feeding programme for all qualifying learners.

11–14 Aug 2020 – Grade 7 learners will return to school on 11 August 2020.
– Grade 7 officials (and teacher support staff) will return to school on 11 August 2020.
– The principal and the School Management Team (as required) will be in attendance at school.
– Officials, who are at school, will assist in ensuring compliance with the health, safety and social distancing requirements and to assist in the distribution of learning material and the roll-out of the daily school feeding programme for all qualifying learners.

17– 21 Aug 2020 – All officials will report for duty on 17 August 2020 to prepare for the return of learners in the remaining grades.
– Grade 7; Grade 12; and Schools of Skill: Year 4 learners and officials will already be at school.
– Officials who are already at school will assist in ensuring compliance with the health, safety and social distancing requirements and to assist in the distribution of learning material and the roll-out of the daily school feeding programme for all qualifying learners.

24 Aug 2020
(a) Learners in the following grades, years or schools will return to school on 24 August 2020:
– Grade R; Grade 1; Grade 2; Grade 3; Grade 4; and Grade 6;
-Grade 9; Grade 10; and Grade 11;
– Schools of Skill: Year 1; Year 2; and Year 3;
– Schools with Learners with Severe and Profound Intellectual Disabilities (“LSPID”): Year 1; Year 2; and Year 3;
– Schools for Learners with Severe Intellectual Disabilities (“SID”): Grade R; Grade 1; Grade 2; Grade 3; and final year (Occupational); and
– Schools with autistic learners: Junior group (below 13 years); Senior Group (13 years and above); and final year (18 years and above).

(b) The school must ensure compliance with the health, safety and social distancing requirements in accommodating this group of learners.

31 Aug 2020: Learners in the following grades or schools will return to school on 31 August 2020:

  • Grade 5 and Grade 8; and
  • Schools for Learners with Severe Intellectual Disabilities (“SID”): Grade 4 and Grade 5.

By Jamie McKane for MyBroadband 

Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku has blamed the accelerated spread of COVID-19 in the province on the “blatant disregard” of lockdown regulations, among other factors.

Speaking in an interview with eNCA on 5 July, Masuku said that the province was in discussions with the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) about how it could more strictly enforce the advanced level 3 lockdown restrictions.

The number of recorded COVID-19 cases in South Africa rose to 205,721 on 6 July, breaching the 200,000-mark.

Gauteng has emerged as a major hotspot, accounting for 32.5% of all COVID-19 cases with 66,891 recorded cases in the province.

The Gauteng government was previously discussing a plan to re-implement a hard lockdown in the province, but Masuku told eNCA the executive council has agreed to look at stricter enforcement of the current regulations instead.

“What we agreed on as the executive council is to see how we are able to apply and enforce the regulations that will help us to reduce the rate of transmission,” he said.

“These regulations are the ones that are already applied but are not being respected by the community.”

Masuku said the biggest problem was the adherence to rules around public gatherings.

“People have defied that. People are deliberately and intentionally organising social events, parties, and weddings.”

“There are regulations that prohibit those types of interactions and we want to see those being enforced,” he said.

Masuku added that people should not gather in any groups if it is not necessary.

Working with police and soldiers to enforce lockdown rules
One new restriction being considered by Gauteng is the limitation of alcohol sales to only one day per week.

Masuku did not confirm whether this would be implemented, stating only that the province had the power to regulate the sale of alcohol and it has noted the effect reopening sales has had on hospitals in the province.

“The issue of alcohol restriction is within the provincial purview and we can regulate it,” he said.

“We have seen the impact of reintroducing the sale of alcohol, what it has done to our casualties, to our trauma units, and it is something that as the provincial government we took a very strong decision around and we just feel that it should be properly regulated.”

Masuku’s statements that Gauteng would further clamp down on enforcement were supported by provincial spokesperson Thabo Masebe, who confirmed yesterday that the provincial government would not push for a hard lockdown.

“We are not calling for the return of hard lockdown. We fully understand and support the current risk-adjusted strategy, which is being implemented by the national government,” Masebe said.

“The things that we are looking at is the continued use of police, being supported by soldiers, to got to places and help enforce regulations.”

“We will also continue working with other spheres of government to go factories, shopping malls, and other places to ensure that people follow the regulations,” Masebe said.

National Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has not ruled out the possibility of a hard lockdown in the province, however, stating that this would be evaluated by the NCCC.

“At the moment we’ve not taken a decision for a hard lockdown but it cannot be ruled out as a future instrument that can be used,” he said.

EU plans to speed limit all cars

By Gwyn Topham for The Guardian 

All new cars sold in the UK and Europe are to be fitted with devices to automatically stop drivers exceeding the speed limit under sweeping changes to vehicle safety rules that the EU has provisionally agreed.

Although Britain may no longer be part of the EU when the rules come into effect, the UK regulator, the Vehicle Certification Agency, has said it will mirror safety standards for vehicles in the UK.

The speed limiter is one of a range of safety features to be made mandatory from 2022, along with automated emergency braking, electronic data recorders and improved visibility built into lorries for drivers to see vulnerable cyclists and pedestrians around the vehicle.

Safety campaigners described the move as one of the biggest leaps forward in 50 years and said it could save 25,000 lives by 2037.

The package of measures needs to be ratified by the European parliament, which is likely by September.

The speed limiter device, called intelligent speed assistance (ISA), uses GPS data and sign recognition cameras to detect speed limits where the car is travelling, and then will sound a warning and automatically slow the vehicle down if it is exceeding the limit.

However, drivers will be able to override the device simply by pushing hard on the accelerator, reassuring some motoring groups that have argued that in certain situations – such as when trying to swiftly overtake a vehicle in front – speeding up could be safer.

The AA’s president, Edmund King, has said the case is not clear that ISAs will improve safety, although he welcomed plans to make automated emergency braking mandatory.

Antonio Avenoso, executive director of the European Transport Safety Council, said: “There have only been a handful of moments in the last 50 years which could be described as big leaps forward for road safety in Europe. The mandatory introduction of the seatbelt was one, and the first EU minimum crash safety standards, agreed in 1998, was another.

“If last night’s agreement is given the formal green light, it will represent another of those moments, preventing 25,000 deaths within 15 years of coming into force.”

Volvo recently became the first manufacturer to announce it would limit the speed of all its new cars, albeit to 112mph – above the speed limit everywhere bar German autobahns.

Other measures agreed by the EU include making data recorders mandatory to help investigate vehicle crashes and assist research into increased safety. Another feature already standard in many new cars, a lane departure warning system, will become obligatory.

The road safety charity Brake called it a “landmark day”. Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, said: “These lifesaving measures come at a vital time, with road safety in a concerning period of stagnation with more than 70 people still being killed or seriously injured on British roads every day. The government must commit to adopting these lifesaving regulations, no matter what happens with Brexit.”

The UK has one of the lowest rates of road deaths among European nations, although the number of accidents has plateaued this decade, after a long trend of improving safety. In 2017, 322 people died on British roads when the vehicle was either exceeding the speed limit or judged to be travelling too fast for the conditions.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “We continuously work with partners across the globe to improve the safety standards of all vehicles. These interventions are expected to deliver a step-change in road safety across Europe, including the UK.”

By Jamie McKane for MyBroadband

The South African Reserve Bank has published a consultation paper on policy proposals for cryptocurrency assets, detailing its recommended regulatory approach to Bitcoin and other tokens in South Africa.

This paper currently only offers recommendations and is open to comment from the public until 15 February 2019.

The Intergovernmental FinTech Working Group (IFWG), which includes members from Treasury and the SARB, formed a Crypto Assets Regulatory Working Group to construct recommendations for the regulation of digital assets in South Africa.

This consultation paper is a product of this working group, and addresses the possible advantages and disadvantages of cryptocurrency in a South African context – including its ability to be used for criminal activities and its impact on financial services.

“Upon conclusion of the consultation phase, the regulatory authorities will specify the way forward through a policy instrument such as a guidance note or position paper aimed for first quarter of 2019,” the paper stated.

“The IFWG and Crypto Assets Regulatory Working Group is of the view that regulatory action should not be delayed until the most appropriate regulatory approach has become clear, but to rather act and amend as innovation evolves.”

Proposed regulations
The regulations proposed in the paper aim to help monitor the purchasing and selling of cryptocurrency, with a major focus on improving compliance with existing financial security legislation.

Under these new rules, all cryptocurrency asset trading platforms, custodial service providers, and payment service providers will be required to register with the IFWG and comply with AML/CFT provisions of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act.

These platforms include Bitcoin exchanges, trading centres, and cryptocurrency ATMs.

Additionally, the government recommends that cryptocurrency service providers monitor user transactions – especially large transactions which may be linked to terrorist activity.

Regulatory authorities did add that they would not impose any market entry conditions for registered entities.

Where companies and service providers do not comply with these requirements, the government recommended that administrative sanctions be imposed.

The Crypto Assets Regulatory Working Group said it would continue monitoring the state of the cryptocurrency market, especially businesses and users situated in South Africa.

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