Moving residence during the lockdown – Heinrich Theunissen

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On Thursday 07 May 2020 the Minister of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs issued directions in terms of section 27(2)(f) of the Disaster Management Act, 2002 which facilitates the movement of persons and goods during the National Lockdown Period.

These directions bring some clarity to the questions raised regarding if the public will be allowed to move from their current residence during the period of Alert level 4. In terms of the directions, persons who have entered into a lease agreement before or during the lockdown period, or who’s property transfer occurred before the lockdown period, are permitted to travel to their new place of residence between 07 May 2020 and 7 June 2020.

If you have been party to a sale of property, which property transferred prior to the lockdown period, you would be allowed a once-off chance to move into your new residence, or from the residence you sold. If you entered into a new lease agreement prior to or during the lockdown, you would also be able to utilize this once-off chance to move. This once-off movement includes the movement of your household furniture and effects.

It is very important that you first obtain the necessary travel permit from the station commander of a police station before you attempt to move to your new residence. Only when you are in possession of this permit will you be allowed to move. The permit will include the following information:

  • Details of all members of the household who are moving (always remember the limit of people per vehicle);
  • Address of both where you are moving from and where you are moving to (as well as province you are coming from and going to, if crossing provincial boundaries);
  • Registration number of the vehicles being used to move to the new residence;
  • Date of travel.

You will need to provide the station commander with the following documents as proof of your required move:

  • Lease agreement indicating the date of expiry of the old lease, and the date of commencement of the new lease;
  • Transfer documents attesting to the change in place of residence or change of ownership of property.

These new directions offer relief to some members of the public but are still restrictive and unclear with regards to situations where properties are sold and transferred during the lockdown. The Law Society of South Africa and other stakeholders are entering into discussions with the Minister regarding these concerns, however until such time as the directions are amended, members of the public should only be moving in the circumstances as set out above.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

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