Wednesday | 13 May | 2020
By Sanette Viljoen
With an invisible enemy like Covid-19 some people find it difficult to take the current situation seriously unless it affects them directly. The same can be said of the preventive measures, news reports, the national state of disaster that has been declared and the regulations published in the Government Gazette.
A bad approach to the state of disaster will have far-reaching consequences for the actual transmission of the virus as well as the prosecution of individuals who act in violation of the regulation. The regulations are not negotiable, they are the law.
If you find yourself on the wrong side of the Disaster Management Act (Act 57 of 2002) by not complying with the regulations, you may find yourself prosecuted before your first cough.
The following are a few examples of the regulations and the consequences of transgressing them:
- If you suspect that you have been infected with Covid-19, you may not refuse a medical examination, admission to isolation or quarantine or treatment to prevent transmission. If you do not comply with the provisions of this regulation you may be placed in isolation or quarantine for 48 hours, pending a warrant for a medical examination issued by a competent court.
- Gatherings during the lockdown are also prohibited. If you do not comply with the provisions of the regulation a fine or imprisonment of no longer than six months, or both, may be imposed on you.
- A person who wilfully misrepresents his or her infection with Covid-19 or makes a misrepresentation regarding another person’s status, is guilty of an offense. This offense could lead to a fine or imprisonment of no longer than six months, or both.
The regulations even go so far as to state that any person who publishes a statement regarding Covid-19 with the intent to mislead others will be faced by the same prosecution as set out above.
- Lastly, if you intentionally expose another person to Covid-19 you may be prosecuted for offences such as assault, attempted murder and murder.
All the above-mentioned offences are serious with serious consequences.
As South Africans we should not see these regulations as threats to cause fear, but rather as strict measures to protect our citizens in the uncertain fight against Covid-19.
* All information was correct at the time of publication.