On 11 June 2020, the Minister of Sport, Arts, and Culture, Mr Nkosinathi Mthethwa, issued an Amended Direction and announced the opening of professional non-contact sport and the training of professional athletes as outlined in the Regulations to the Disaster Management Act, 57 of 2002 (“DMA”).
Mr Mthethwa directed non-contact Sport Bodies to submit their COVID-19 ready plan as per Annexure C of the Directions by 26 June 2020, indicating their state of readiness and the health protocols they will implement in accordance with the prescribed Regulations and Directions in terms of the DMA.
The strict prerequisites under Annexure C of the Directions include, amongst others, for the Sport Bodies to ensure that every single athlete and support staff is tested for COVID-19.
On 26 June 2020, Mr Mthethwa announced, in addition to the resumption of football activities, the approval for the resumption of training and matches, as the case may be, to bodies that have submitted their plans indicating their state of readiness. These Sport Bodies include the following:
- Cricket South Africa;
- South African Sport Anglers and Casting Confederation;
- South African Gymnastics Federation;
- Tennis South Africa;
- South African National Climbing Federation;
- Canoeing South Africa; and
- Swimming South Africa.
The other non-contact Sport Bodies, such as Volleyball SA, Baseball SA, Rowing SA, Jukskei, Table Tennis SA, and Badminton SA, are to remain suspended due to either not submitting their COVID-19 ready plans or due to their plans still being processed by the Department of Sport, Arts, and Culture.
It is important to note that certain professional non-contact Sport Bodies might have received an approval to resume activities post 26 June 2020. The Minister is yet to make a public announcement of such sports.
Certain contact sports are to be allowed for training only, and subject to new rules, which are yet to be published.
Gyms and fitness centres to remain closed
Further Amendments as gazetted in Gazette 43476 of 25 June 2020 by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, provide for gyms and fitness centres, sports grounds and fields and swimming pools to remain closed, except for sports fields and swimming pools for training of professional athletes and non-contact sports matches.
The Regulations do, however, allow for individuals to exercise in small groups of three, between the hours of 06:00 to 18:00.
The relaxation of gym and fitness centre Regulations are expected to occur under Alert Level 2.
Author: Monique Botha