COVID-19: IT IS NOW A CRIMINAL OFFENCE

TO NOT WEAR A MASK IN PUBLIC IN THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA

COVID-19: IT IS NOW A CRIMINAL OFFENCE

TO NOT WEAR A MASK IN PUBLIC IN THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA

There has been a degree of confusion amounts South Africans regarding the criminal implications of not wearing a face mask in public, this confusion following the announcement by the Minister of Correctional Services Ronal Lamola on the 13th of July 2020.

In this article we will look at the implications of Disaster Management Act 2002, Amendments of Regulations issued in terms of Section 27(2) (The New Lockdown Directives)

The New Lockdown Directives as published on Sunday have criminalized the not wearing of face masks in public in South Africa.

The New Lockdown Regulations 5(2) (a) essentially states that it is now mandatory to wear a face mask which covers the nose and mouth when in a public space.  Furthermore No person is permitted to perform any service on any form of public transport, enter into a public building or be in a public space without wearing a face mask.

The question is what the punishment will be for an individual who fails to adhere to the New Lockdown Regulations, the answer is that the New Lockdown Regulations only places liability on compliance officers for now. As such a driver or operator of any form of public transport, a manager or owner of a building, and employer and a principle of a school may be liable for a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or both in the case where such persons fail to ensure to take reasonable steps to ensure compliance with the New Lockdown Directives in particular regulation 5(2)(a).

It is expected however that should non-compliance persist new regulations will be promulgated which will seek to punish the individual for failing to wear a face mask which covers the nose and mouth in a public space.

NOTE THAT THIS ARTICLE IS NOT TO BE CONSTRUED AS LEGAL ADVICE AND YOU ARE ADVISED TO SPEAK TO YOUR LEGAL PRACTITIONER FOR FURTHER INFORMATION IN THIS REGARD

Njabulo Mgenge

Njabulo Mgenge

UKZN LLB, Professional Assistant Attorney

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