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On Sunday 28 February 2021, President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation to announce a significant easing of COVID-19 restrictions. March 5 will mark one year since the first COVID-19 case was recorded in the country. New hospital admissions, daily infections and deaths have decreased significantly and are declining steadily. The President said the nation can be proud of SA’s medical response, which has been recognised globally.

President Ramaphonsa indicated that South Africa had clearly emerged from the second wave of the pandemic because people observed protocols, stuck to tighter restrictions and benefitted from accumulating immunity. This has resulted in a steadily declining rate of infections

The country will now immediately move to ease restrictions on movement and activity, from adjusted Level 3 to Level 1.

This means that most of the existing restrictions on economic activity have been lifted, with a high consumption spending bolstered by the steady recovery in employment expected as a result, businesses are also expected to slowly start implementing plans that have been put on hold due to the pandemic.  

Combined with the structural reforms announced in recent weeks, it is anticipated that “the green shoots” seen in the economy will begin to take hold.

The President said vaccines are the most decisive measures to combat COVID-19, but that the pandemic can only be overcome if the nation continues to practice all other prevention measures. He said defeating the pandemic and accelerating our economic recovery were linked to rigorous adherence to health protocols.  

Some key highlights of the restrictions that have been eased include:

  • The hours of the curfew will now be from 12am to 4am
  • Gatherings are permitted, subject to limitations on size and social distancing, including religious, social, political and cultural gatherings with a maximum number of people of 100 for indoor and 250 for outdoor gatherings. If the venue is too small, no more than 50% of capacity of the venue may be used. Night vigils, before or after funerals are not permitted and nightclubs remain closed
  • No alcohol to be sold during curfew hours
  • Wearing of masks remains compulsory, failure to do so is a fineable offence


The closure of the 33 land ports of entry will remain in place. The other 20 border posts that have been open, will remain open. These land borders include, Beitbridge, Lebombo, Maseru, Oshoek, Kopfontein and Ficksburg.

The five major airports remain open for domestic and international travel – OR Tambo, Cape Town International, King Shaka, Kruger and Lanseria.

Click here for a copy of the Government Gazette dated 29 December 2020 

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