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31 Mar 2020
BY Adam Lombard , Aslam Moosajee , Derek Wanblad AND Willem van der Colff

South Africa: tips for essential service employees when being stopped by the police

In response to the rapid spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), South Africa entered a lockdown period on 27 March 2020 and subject to any further directions from government, this period is due to last until midnight on 16 April 2020. During the lockdown period, employees performing an essential service are allowed to travel to and from work.

Employers engaged in rendering essential services can provide their employees with some useful tips to avoid being arrested by the police, which we set out below:

  1. Apart from carrying permits, employees should carry business cards, if they have been issued with such.
  2. If employees have an access card that is branded to get into the employer’s building, it would be useful to show that to the police/SANDF.
  3. If employees are carrying a laptop or any other tools of the trade, they can show that as well.
  4. If they have employer-branded T-shirts and if it is not against the dress policy, these should be worn during the lockdown period.
  5. The more that employees have to prove that they are employees of an essential services company, the better.
  6. Employees should limit their activities outside of their residences to traveling to and from work.
  7. The staff should not carry alcohol with them.
  8. When stopped by the police/SANDF, employees should remain calm and be respectful (any perceived aggression may give rise to suspicion by the police/SANDF).

Should your company perform an essential service, and your employees run into any difficulty with the police, employers can contact:


Aslam Moosajee
Dispute Resolution | Director
+27 82 461 5917

Derek Wanblad
Dispute Resolution | Contractual, Financial Services and Property | Director
+27 83 289 3950

Willem van der Colff
Dispute Resolution | Director
+27 82 788 0368

Adam Lombard
Dispute Resolution | Insolvency | Director
+27 82 836 4123

COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus, is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) that was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on 11 March 2020. The disease has since been reported in over 190 countries.

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