South Africa: Today’s latest news and headlines, Monday 1 June

Stay informed and up to date with the latest news in South Africa; check out the country’s biggest headlines on Monday 1 June. It’s the first day of Level 3 lockdown, and although many of us are excited about the eased restrictions, our latest COVID-19 numbers are something of a reality check.


COVID-19 stats for Monday 1 June

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa increased by 1 716 in the past 24-hour testing cycle to 32 683, with 40 new COVID-19-related deaths bringing the total to 683 as of Sunday, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said. A total of 725 125 tests had been processed to date, of which 23 242 had been conducted since the last report on Saturday.

It’s Level 3 day – let’s raise a glass…

Monday promises to be a very exciting day for the drinkers of South Africa, as the implementation of lockdown Level 3 allows citizens to purchase alcohol for the first time in 67 days. It’s been a rough ride – let’s not mention the pineapple beer – but the industry is ready to reopen under the following rules:

  • Home consumption allowed only.
  • This means bottle stores, supermarkets, restaurants and liquor traders can sell alcohol over the counter.
  • Bars and tavern remain banned.
  • The sale of alcohol will be allowed for four days a week: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
  • The stores selling booze will be allowed to operate from 9:00 – 17:00.
  • Drinking on the premises is banned, and no ‘special events’ will be granted one-off liquor licenses.

List of reasons for inter-provincial travel extended

For those with genuine needs, it will become slightly easier to cross into another district or province from 1 June. The rules regarding domestic border crossings have been eased, but be aware: All national border posts remain closed, and travel to different countries is off-limits at Level 3.

However, you can undertake an inter-provincial journey for the following reasons:

  • Work reasons: You can now cross provincial borders in a professional capacity if you have your permit.
  • Moving house: Those going to a new place of residence have permission to travel under Level 3 laws.
  • Care responsibilities: People can now cross provincial borders to ‘care for an immediate family member’.
  • Going to school: Students who have to commute to and from schools can now move freely.
  • Attendance of funerals: This is also allowed in Level 4 of lockdown.
  • Transporting mortal remains: Under strict medical guidelines, inter-provincial travel gives leeway to burials.
  • Seeking medical treatment: If you’re nearer to a hospital that’s across a provincial border, you can now go there.
  • Leaving quarantine: Those leaving isolation away from their homes can return home without domestic limits.
  • Movement of children: Kids in co-parenting situations can now journey into different provinces to see each caregiver.
  • MPs performing ‘oversight’ tasks: This applies to just 400 of us. But yes. They can also travel freely during Level 3.

Level 3 – where can we gather, and who can we meet?

There have been a few relaxations to the rules on public gatherings, and the minister has explained where – and how – people can assemble in groups:

  • Council meetings and gatherings can resume with strict social distancing in local government buildings.
  • The government are still allowing funeral gatherings – but will continue to limit the number of attendees to 50.
  • Schools can allow children to return to their classrooms, providing a 1.5-metre distance is kept between all parties.
  • Religious gatherings of 50 people or less are permitted if the chosen venue can accommodate social distancing.
  • Workplace gatherings for professional purposes will be permitted under strict conditions and the observance of health and hygiene guidelines.
  • But, be warned: None of these allowances allow people to gather elsewhere, or meet socially in public.


  • You still cannot meet friends or family from outside of your own household, according to Bheki Cele.
  • Public training, fitness and recreation facilities remain closed except those conducting non-contact sports matches, without spectators. The Minister of Arts, Culture and Sports will elaborate on this.
  • Exercising in groups is not allowed, either.
  • People are asked to wear face masks wherever they go in public, including all listed gatherings.#

Flights are back on the menu

Domestic flights will be implemented in a phased approach, with phase 1 consisting of OR Tambo International Airport, Cape Town International Airport, King Shaka International Airport, and Lanseria International Airport. Only limited domestic air travel will be allowed for business trips, which will be approved based on the reason provided, and will be subject to restrictions “on the number of flights per day”.

Full capacity will be allowed on aircraft, but no passenger will be allowed inside terminal buildings without a face mask. The following measures are still forbidden:

  • No catering will be allowed
  • No magazines onboard, including Sawubona
  • The last row on the plane will be reserved for isolation of suspected cases
  • All aircraft must be disinfected before and after each flight

Return to school ‘pushed back one week’

The on-again, off-again communication skills of the Education Department have tried and tested the patience of many South Africans on Sunday – but we’ve finally got an answer to a burning question, and it’s better late than never. Schools in Mzansi will not open on Monday 1 June as initially planned, the ministry has confirmed.

The postponed briefing has been pushed back to 11:00 on Monday – hours after schools were due to return for their first day. Luckily, some form of common sense prevailed and on Sunday evening, the Education Department gave us all an update. Schools will remain closed for the week ahead, reopening only on Monday 8 June. Officials in the Western Cape, however, have stated their schools can open today.

Cyril Ramaphosa accepts cigarette ban ‘mistake’

Responding to criticism surrounding government’s sudden U-turn on the cigarette ban during the move to Level 4 lockdown, President Cyril Ramaphosa has admitted things should’ve been done differently.

During a virtual conference with the South African National Editors Forum (SANEF) on Sunday, the president was forced to field some serious questions around government’s stringent lockdown policy as a response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The president elaborated on the incident which had fuelled speculation around the executive command. Ramaphosa said:

“When I did announce that we were lifting the ban on cigarettes and later changed it — the change came about as a result of a flurry of concerns and objections that were raised by a number of South Africans, in their thousands — we then had to go back to the drawing board and then finally announce a change.”

“Obviously people have taken issue with the way the announcement was made. It was made by Minister Dlamini-Zuma. What we should have done, is the president having announced it, the president should’ve been the one to announce it again and give reasons why this was being changed.”

Cyril Ramaphosa


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