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COVID-19 Directions on Movement of Children Clarified

April 10, 2020

Department of Social Development

The social development department has issued a statement clarifying the recent amendments to directions on preventing and combating the spread of COVID-19.

The amendments, published in Notice 455, focused on co-holders of parental responsibilities and rights or a caregiver during the lockdown period.

Previously directions prohibiting movement of children between co-holders of parental responsibilities and rights were issued on 30 March 2020.

In the statement, the social development minister, Lindiwe Zulu, declared that the “prohibition of movement was never intended to limit or prohibit contact with the child/children or to punish parents as the department believes in family strengthening and preservation”.

Co-holders of parental responsibilities and rights had raised concerns about the directions prohibiting movement of children.

The department points out that children are now able to move between parents during the lockdown in terms of a court order or where a parental responsibilities and rights agreement or parenting plan exists.

The changes aim to ensure that the “existing parenting plans, made an order of the court and those registered with the Family Advocate’s office are implemented whilst exercising precautionary measures that will prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection whilst promoting the best interests of the child/children”.

Meanwhile, in another statement, the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) announced that, as from the month of May 2020, disability and older persons grants will be paid from the 4th day of the month.

All other grants will be paid from the 6th of every month.

SASSA points out that lessons learned from the last payment cycle during the national lockdown have compelled it to review the payment dates going forward.

The thinking is that “people with disabilities and the aged need to be protected from the month end rush at payment outlets and therefore payment needs to be staggered in such a way that these categories of beneficiaries receive their grants before others”.