‘You can gather with 49 people but can’t smoke a cigarette?’ – Steenhuisen

Democratic Alliance (DA) Leader John Steenhuisen, finds the lockdown Level 3 regulations announced by Cogta minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma bizarre. He cannot seem to understand why the sale of cigarettes and other things like getting a haircut is still prohibited while gathering with 49 people for religious purposes is allowed.

Steenhuisen took to Twitter to air his frustration moments after Dlamini-Zuma took to the podium on Thursday 28 May. 

Dlamini-Zuma announced the details on Level 3 regulations during a National coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) meeting on Thursday. 


Steenhuisen couldn’t quite understand why some things are permitted and other prohibited. On Thursday afternoon, he took to Twitter and said: 

“So you can gather in a confined space with 49 other people but you cannot have your haircut, go to the beach, or go to a park or smoke a cigarette? Bizarre….”

Dlamini-Zuma, in her speech on Thursday, covered the sale of alcohol, touched on religious gatherings and addressed exercise but did not mention anything about cigarettes. 

The reopening of hair salons — a topic which has become quite controversial during the lockdown — was also not permitted. 

Another concern making the rounds on social media is that a citizen may gather with 49 people in places of worship but may not have any social gatherings, even with five people. 

Bheki Cele, on Thursday, also confirmed that no gatherings for social reasons are permitted under Level 3. He said that churches may operate under Level 3 but no hugging and kissing is allowed.


Although the cigarette ban is still ongoing, the sale of alcohol is now permitted come 1 June. 

Based on what took place a week ago, one wouldn’t necessarily picture the alcohol ban being lifted. Just a few days ago, there were reports that Dlamini-Zuma was allegedly advocating for the alcohol and cigarette bans to remain until Level 1. It caused quite the uproar at the time but nevertheless, the alcohol ban will be lifted come Monday. 

 There are, however, a few rules to abide by.

  • Home consumption allowed only;
  • This means bottle stores, supermarkets 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; and
  • Drinking on the premises is banned, and no ‘special events’ will be granted one-off liquor licenses.

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