Covid-19 City updates

PLEASE NOTE: This document contains only provisional information for each country, based on the information that our in-country teams have been able to access.  We hope to provide updates of this information approximately at fortnightly intervals. 

Covid-19 and transport in the Republic of South Africa

Draft report 9.5-25.5.2020

South Africa

Current cases (22.5.2020): 19.137

Current deaths (22.5.2020): 369

Government measures

21.5.2020: The city of Cape Town’s homepage describes the following measures when taking public transport. You should not travel if you are ‘vulnerable’ (ill or 60 years and above). You should avoid contact with others and stay 2 metres apart. You should wear a mask, open the windows to allow air to circulate the vehicle, avoid touching surfaces e.g. handrails and doors, use exact money for bus fares as well as hygiene measures – washing your hands, sneezing into a tissue/elbow and hand washing.


The National Taxi Alliance (NTA) and SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) have welcomed proposed financial support by the government to the taxi industry during the lockdown.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said he would outline his plans next week on how the government would financially support the industry during the lockdown.


19.5.2020: A red dot taxi service is launched to provide transport for health care workers – comprising 100 minibuses. They will follow strict safety/hygiene protocols

15.5. 2020:Screening and testing measures have been introduced at MyCiti and Golden Arrow Bus service depots for staff, along with putting up lines for social distance adhering at 42 public transport interchanges across the city. Members of the committee on governance and traditional affairs held a meeting with the metros. The committee members appealed to the metros to ensure hard monitoring

11.5.2020.  A website outlines what employers must do during covid19. The department of corporative governance published the following rules on the 29 April. The employers must provide safe transport for employees including: personal hygiene, social distancing, arrangements to minimize exposure associated with commuting (cloth masks and PPE)

Draft report 25.4.2020-8.5.2020

South Africa

8.4.2020. Cases: 8232. Deaths 161.

1.5.2020. South Africa has moved to level 4 of the lockdown. This means that local transport allowed to operate but social distancing measures apply, and with a restricted number of passengers. Rail, ocean, and road transport is permitted for cargo. Repatriation flights will be allowed. For people in the catering sector, they can do deliveries only. People are allowed to leave their house between 6 am and 9 am for exercise in their neighbourhood, and there will be a night curfew between 8 pm and 5 am. Businesses can resume, e.g. mines, factories and agricultural businesses, but they can start with only a third of their employees. South African citizens can return home on repatriation flights but need to be quarantined. Postal services and courier services are allowed.

No crowds are allowed. Hairdressers, hotels and guesthouses cannot start their businesses.  The ban on international and domestic flight travel remains. Recreational visits are not allowed. No travel between provinces is permitted, except if there are exceptional circumstances. Schools are still shut, but should reopen on the 1 June (grade 7-12 only).Facemasks are mandatory in public.


28 April: Violent crime, and traffic accidents drop most likely due to restrictions on movement and the ban of the sale of alcohol. Domestic violence increases. People in poor neighbourhoods struggle to find food. Charitable individuals trying to deliver food experience harassment from the police.


Draft report 11.4-24.4.2020

South Africa

3953 cases 24.4.2020

75 deaths 24.4.2020

23 April: The president announced that the lockdown will move from stage 5 to stage 4 on 1 May allowing some businesses to open, and people to go for a walk, under strict measures. More will be updated later on this issue, as the discussions are still taking place.

21 April: The president announced a 500 billion rand ($26.3 billion) rescue package equivalent to 10% of the GDP. 250,000 food parcels will be distributed in the coming weeks.

16 April: The minister of Cooperative Governance made some amendments to the regulations allowing the transport of essential goods and cargo.

10 April. The decision to extend South Africa’s lockdown until the end of April will create an economic disaster, the main opposition party has warned.

7 April. The minister of transport has announced:

(1) A public transport sedan is limited to carrying not more than 50% of its

permissible passenger carrying capacity.

(2) During the lockdown period, the following public transport vehicles must

not carry more than 70% of their maximum licensed passenger seating

capacity as follows:

(a) A minibus licensed to carry 10 passengers, is limited to carry a

maximum of 7 passengers;

(b) a minibus licensed to carry 15 passengers, is limited to carry the

maximum of 10 passengers; and

(c) a minibus licensed to carry a maximum of 22 passengers, is

limited to carry a maximum of 15 passengers.

(3) All public transport operators must put measures in place to adhere to

social distancing to curb the spread of COVID -19.


Draft report 1.4-10.4.

Current cases (10.4. 2020). 2003. Deaths 24.

Government implementations

8.4.2020. The president is waiting for scientific evidence to make the decision about whether the lockdown should be extended beyond 16 April.

6.4.2020. Nothing but essential movement is permitted. There is a ban on buying alcohol and cigarettes. No jogging, dog walking or leaving the home except for essential trips is allowed. Prison and fines for law breaking.

3.4. 2020. More than 17.000 have been arrested for defying the lockdown restrictions

2.4.2020. Essential workers still need to travel and rely on transportation. On Wednesday the 1.4. the transport minister allowed the taxis to load at full capacity, but later in the evening took this out of effect (now 70% capacity)


25.4.2020. Our in-country team sends material about one of the townships we worked in. There seems to be no government intervention so far (the link not included due to our need to preserve the anonymity of our research sites)


Draft report 1.3-31.3.2020

Government requirements:

30.3. 2020: 1280 cases. From the 30.3 to the 3.4. busses and taxis will be allowed to operate to cater for the most vulnerable from 5 am to 8 am. (e.g. child grants and grants for the elderly).

23.3.2020. The president announced a national lockdown. No one can leave their homes for 21 days unless under strictly controlled circumstances, including seeking medical care, buying food, medicine or other supplies and collecting social grants. Health workers, emergency personnel and security services (police, traffic officers, military medical personnel and soldiers) are exempted from the lockdown. It will still be possible to get grants (selected days), and homeless shelters and food banks will be available. Pharmacies, banks, supermarkets, petrol stations and health care providers will remain open “non-essential shops will be closed.

20.3.2020. The president announced that foreign nationals travelling from Italy, Iran, South Korea, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom and China have been banned from travelling to South Africa. Anyone returning to South Africa from these high-risk countries will be quarantined for 14 days.

19.3. 2020. The minister of transport said the number of people in trains will have to be reduced, and trains might be stopped at a later stage if necessary. There should be no more than 100 people in a space. Universities and schools have closed. This will involve students travelling home

16.3. 2020. The government will strengthen surveillance, screening and testing measures at OR Tambo, Cape Town and King Shaka International Airports. Of the 53 land ports, 35 have been shut. 2 of the 8 seaports will be closed for passengers and crew changes.

16.3.2020. The Cross-border road transport agency (C-BRTA) will ensure screening of truck drivers at in-land borders.

15.3.2020. The South African president said the country is in a state of national disaster. The minister of transport announced the requirement to keep both international and national travel to a minimum (air, rail, taxis, bus]. Travel to work is allowed currently. He said the government will be sanitizing trains, mini-busses and plans and giving surgical masks to staff members. Every train to be cleaned at the end of a trip.

Transport associations

20. 3.2020: South African Airways cancels all international flights

19.3. 2020. The national taxi alliance are requesting proper entrance systems at taxi ranks and financial support.The NTA are partnering with an organisation (Onqela [spelling unknown] 24.22 in podcast link below]) that developed an app that could inform passengers about corona. The NTA is engaging with taxi owners, and wants to teach the public that they have to maintain distance. Drivers are being encouraged by NTA to put on masks and gloves and sanitize vehicles. Passenger should bring exact fare and pay outside the bus to limit infection.

19.3.2020. Uber and Bolt have closed service centres, and encourage drivers to clean cars and hands. However, according to a radio show, uber/bolt refused to appear on a radio show unlike the taxi and train association, and had not given any recommendations to drivers, nor provided equipment.

16.3.2020. The in country-fieldwork had to stop, as it involved face-to-face contact with vulnerable groups. The national lockdown now also means no one will be allowed to move around for these purposes anymore.

12.3.2020: South African airways crew give out masks to passengers displaying symptoms, and the airline staff use gloves.

South African Airways suspends all international flights

How SAA is preparing for the coronavirus

Coronavirus latest: Ramaphosa confirms SA travel ban for these countries

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